Police spy cameras switched on across Staffordshire
DOZENS of police spy cameras designed to catch criminals on the move have been switched on across Staffordshire's roads.
The first of sixty-five automatic number plate recognition cameras have now gone live as part of a joint scheme by Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire County Council.
The cameras identify suspect vehicles associated with criminal activity ranging from terrorism to motorists driving without tax or insurance.
The information is fed back to a central control room, recorded and can be relayed to officers out on duty.
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The location of the devices will remain secret to avoid tipping off criminals. There will be no warning signs and they will not be identified.
The cameras, which cost just over £500,000, are being installed on 57 main routes across the county. They will all be switched on by March next year.
Chief Superintendent Jon Drake, county policing commander, said: "This initiative will continue to push our message to criminals – they are not welcome in the county.
"This technology, combined with an intelligence-led approach, will help us stop many criminals from targeting the county and allow us to track and catch those who do. Our latest figures show crime in the county is falling but we are committed to working with our partners to further cut crime."
The scheme comes after police intelligence showed that criminals are coming into the county from outside the area to commit offences such as burglary.
Staffordshire Police, which covered half the cost of the cameras, say the technology will act as a deterrent as well as helping track down offenders.
The county council stumped up £200,000 for the initiative. Robbie Marshall, cabinet member for public health and community safety, said: "This sends out a clear message to criminals and vehicle tax and insurance evaders alike; we won't tolerate crime in Staffordshire and we will catch you."
Stoke-on-Trent will be covered by the scheme after the city council provided some funding.