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Accessing Community Board Funding for the Safety of our Community

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

It was learnt at the September Missendens Community Board meeting that a new Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) device had been installed in the locality.

Great credit must go to one local organisation, and one resident in particular, who pushed tenaciously for ANPR coverage over an extended period. Having gained partial funding from the old Local Area Forum (LAF), and with the support of local Neighbourhood Police, they succeeded in getting the remainder of the funding from Thames Valley Police.

This is an important example in the context of the new Buckinghamshire Council Community Boards (CBs). These are the successors to the LAFs, but have significantly greater funding available. Having identified key local concerns, each CB has set up working parties or sub-groups to work on issues. The working groups will be looked to for ‘action ideas’, and encouraged to apply for funding.

Of course, you don’t need to be a member of a sub-group – any organisation meeting laid-down criteria can apply, and the application needs also to meet the objectives of one of the three funds: Community Area Priorities Fund; Health and Wellbeing Fund; Local Infrastructure Fund.

The definition of these funds are quite broad, and community-minded residents who have a particular interest or concern should be able to make a difference by participating in their Community Board.

Please see our earlier post, ‘Community Boards taking Shape’

ANPR – what it is and how it works

An exciting development for Chiltern as a whole is that it is the first Thames Valley force area to receive in-car ANPR’s. Till now, these have been normally only in traffic cars and armed response vehicles.

Thames Valley Police explains that it uses ANPR technology to help detect, deter and disrupt criminal activity at a local, force, regional and national level, including tackling travelling criminals, organised crime groups and terrorists.

As a vehicle passes an ANPR camera, its registration number is read and instantly checked against database records of vehicles of interest. Police officers can intercept and stop a vehicle, speak to the occupants and, where necessary, make arrests. Searches of ANPR data can identify vehicles associated with crime and terrorism and can dramatically speed up investigations.

The use of ANPR in this way has proved to be important in the detection of many offences, including locating, for example, persons wanted for arrest or missing, witnesses, stolen vehicles, tackling uninsured vehicle use and uncovering cases of major crime.

Precise locations of ANPR devices are deliberately not publicised in order not to undermine their effectiveness. For some this raises the spectre of Big Brother, but if operated properly, it’s only baddies that need fear ANPR. Clear rules exist to control access to ANPR data and to govern conditions of storage.

More information about Thames Valley Police’s use of ANPR.

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