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Cyprus

‘Smart’ police cars will lessen burden on officers

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou

Cyprus traffic police have received 10 patrol cars equipped with a mobile automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system, which can instantly identify traffic offenders, it announced on Monday.
In a statement, police said the system can spot drivers without insurance, a valid drivers’ licence, and cars without road-tax licence or an MOT inspection certificate.
It can also help track cars suspected of having been used in crimes.
Speaking at an event marking the introduction of the system, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said modernising the police force is a priority for his ministry.
“In 2015, 324 serious traffic collisions were recorded, which resulted in 377 serious injuries and 57 deaths,” Nicolaou said.
“This year, there have already been 10 deaths so far. The main cause of fatal accidents is careless driving.”
Such technological modernisation, the minister added, will allow police to check instantly, through the ANPR, for uninsured vehicles, as insurance companies forward data of all their operations to the Road Transport Department.
Police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou said ‘smart policing’ has been set as one of the force’s key priorities.
“Under the current socioeconomic circumstances, policing has become particularly complex, multi-dimensional, and challenging, while budgets and human resources have been cut drastically,” he said.
“It is thus imperative that we can achieve much more with a lot less cost and human resource needs.”
As international practice shows, the chief added, technological upgrades in policing can make key contributions to achieving this goal.
In addition to the 10 patrol cars received on Monday, police have initiated procedures for the procurement of 12 more ANPR-equipped vehicles before the end of the year.
The police are also introducing a vehicle-tracking system for police cars, as well as a centralised alert system, while commissioning of an aerial surveillance system (UAV drone) is also underway, also scheduled for 2016.

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