- BC Games
RCMP plate scanners '100 times faster'
Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows motorists are also subject to the longer arm of the law, thanks to an Automated Licence Plate Recognition-equipped car the local detachment regularly shares with Langley.
Every six weeks or so, Mounties will sit in strategic spots and scan thousands of cars and trucks to see if vehicles are insured, drivers are licenced or whether warrants are outstanding for people.
But the cameras only provide police information they’d normally access anyway, says Sgt. Dale Somerville, in charge of Ridge Meadows six-man traffic section.
“It just does it 100 times faster.”
That means it can access motor vehicle files, or the Canadian Police Information Computer, the omnibus data base that tracks people across the country and tells police who’s arrestable under what charges.
People also wanted under a mental health warrant would also show up in CPIC.
“There’s no other database out there that I know of,” Somerville said.
The car Ridge Meadows borrows is an unmarked unit and usually requires four officers when it sets up, two in the car and two farther down the street pulling over the motorists.
Police like to set up on busy locations. The higher the traffic volume, the more effectively the scanner can be used.
“It has the ability of running lots of plates all the time.
Somerville’s not sure about the concerns raised about excessive police surveillance after reading accounts of the B.C. Privacy Commissioner’s investigation into the devices.
“I don’t know where they’re going with this because it’s no different database than what police already have. I just does it very quickly, very efficiently.”
He added that CPIC is wideranging and can show warrants issued under several laws. The database has been around for years.
“It’s only stuff that’s actionable by police.
“They’re excellent for Canadawide warrants.”
The technology also comes in handy when patrolling hotel parking lots, where the scanning of plates often can detect stolen cars.