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Automatic number plate recognition for Hertfordshire police.

Siemens Building Technologies : 08 August, 2007  (Application Story)
ANPR camera installations in Hertfordshire to be supplied with edge processing capabilities to reduce bandwidth demands.
Siemens Building Technologies Security Systems, has won a contract worth in excess of £550,000 to provide Hertfordshire Constabulary with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) solution at sites throughout the county. The contract includes the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the systems, as well as associated work such as traffic management, obtaining planning permission, and liaison with the numerous third parties that have an interest in the project.

The success of Siemens in securing this prestigious contract was based on the company's flexibility and willingness to handle all aspects of the work, and also its proven performance in similar projects. Particular note was taken of the ANPR solution recently supplied to Norfolk Constabulary, a project for which Siemens has received accolades for overall performance, excellent project management and on-time, on-budget delivery.

The order for the Hertfordshire Constabulary project was placed through the Thames Valley Police framework agreement that gives all UK police forces access to CCTV and ANPR equipment from Siemens Building Technologies at advantageous fixed prices that were agreed as the result of a strict tendering process.

For the Hertfordshire Constabulary contract, Siemens is currently engaged in installing a total of 30 ANPR cameras divided between ten sites, one of which is the busy South Mimms Motorway Service Area.

As part of its preliminary work on the project, Siemens evaluated a number of options for conveying data from the cameras to the Hertfordshire Police Headquarters, including the use of a microwave network. The final choice, however, was leased private Ethernet links that combine economy with reliability and good performance.

In order to make best use of the available bandwidth on these links, the ANPR cameras process the images they capture locally. This means that all they need to send to the control centre is the number plate data and a single still image for each vehicle, an arrangement which needs much less bandwidth than the transmission of live CCTV images for remote processing.

While the project is still ongoing, Siemens has already successfully tackled several important challenges. Among these were the management of a motorway double-lane closure to allow camera installation work to be carried out safely, and the handling of sometimes complex liaison issues with third parties such as Highways Agency, Local Authorities, Transport for London, British Telecom and EDF Energy.

Nigel Eastaugh, ANPR development Manager for Herts Police commented: "We have received tremendous support from Siemens throughout this project. We wanted a service that would provide a turnkey solution, from design to installation. The liaison

has been excellent throughout, where problems have arisen options have been provided that have made the decision making process easier. We have also been able to discuss and design in solutions for other planned projects that will impact on this development, and with further works planned we have an excellent basis for future infrastructure growth."

At the request of Hertfordshire Constabulary the work is being split into a number of phases, but the system is expected to be complete and fully functional towards the end of 2007.
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