Caught by computers

Automatic licence plate readers make it easier on police to bust drivers who shouldn’t be on the roads

Motorists driving in Saskatchewan wish a suspended licence or in a stolen vehicle have an even greater chance of being caught thanks to the expanded use of new technology.

Friday afternoon SGI announced all police vehicles in the Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan (CTSS) pilot are now equipped with automated licence plate readers (ALPRs)

SGI has provided $800,000 to purchase 32 ALPRs.

The tool uses infrared technology to scan licence plates and alert police when the plat is linked to a stolen or unregistered vehicle, a suspended driver or someone wanted by police.

The reader connects to an SGI-connected database to tell officers whether the owner has a licence or if the vehicle has been reported stolen.

The CTSS pilot project dedicates 60 officers to traffic safety enforcement. The pilot targets problem roads and intersections in the central and southeast parts of the province, focusing on impaired driving, distracted driving and speeding.

“Automated licence plate readers allow police to quickly identify disqualified drivers and take action,” Minister Joe Hargrave said. “This … should act as a deterrent for disqualified drivers, including people suspended for impaired driving.”

“(Drivers) need to be aware that if they are driving unregistered or disqualified they could easily be caught,” SGI spokesman Tyler McMurchy said.

While 32 ALPRs are distributed as a part of the CTSS pilot, it’s not the only place the equipment is used.

An additional 16 if the devices have been funded by SGI, including equipment used by the Prince Albert Police Service.

The Prince Albert police have been using ALPRs for about five years.