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8/29/2006
UK Total Policing Operation Uses Hidden Spy Cameras for Ticketing
Merseyside, UK police plan to deploy $190,000 ticket vans that use hidden spy cameras to issue tickets from afar.

Merseyside camera vanMerseyside, UK police have begun using sophisticated spy camera technology to trap and ticket motorists for the most minor of violations. The move is part of a "Total Policing Operation" designed to "wage total war against crime" and "maximize the use of technology."

Beginning September 1, a fleet of three new £100,000 (US $190,000) remote surveillance vans dubbed Gizmo Wagons will use extreme zoom lenses to photograph motorists from up to a mile away. The system also allows police to plant hidden spy cameras on light poles that can secretly transmit video back to the van using microwaves.

"Initially we will have a fleet of three vehicles that can be deployed anywhere to watch out for wrongdoing and anti-social behavior," Councillor Peter Millea told the Liverpool Echo. "This is not about clamping down on the public but by making people aware of their behavior."

The vans will ticket motorists for a number of violations including driving in a bus-only lane, making an illegal turn, or tossing a cigarette out the window. They will also issue parking tickets. The van's cameras are linked to automated number plate recognition software allowing tickets to be generated in a matter of seconds.

Millea went on to explain that the system is designed to crack down on motorists because they are likely to become hardened criminals. "Statistically motorists who persistently receive fixed penalty notices, such as parking tickets, are more likely to be involved in other crimes."

In just two days over the past month, the total policing operation seized one hundred vehicles over paperwork violations. Top police officials said they were working with the magistrates court to ensure speedy conviction of anyone accused by the new vans.

Source: Powerful cameras aim to trap wrongdoers (Liverpool Echo (UK), 8/29/2006)

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