Why we use ANPR

We use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to help detect, deter and disrupt crime locally and nationally. This includes tackling travelling criminals, organised crime groups and terrorists. ANPR can provide lines of enquiry and evidence in investigations, and is used by law enforcement agencies across the UK.

How it works

ANPR cameras read and instantly check registration numbers against records of vehicles of interest. Police can stop vehicles, check for evidence and make arrests where necessary. Details of all vehicles passing a camera are stored, even those not known to be of interest that might be accessed in the right circumstances for investigative purposes. This has proven to be important in detecting offences, including locating stolen vehicles, tackling uninsured vehicle use and solving cases of terrorism, major and organised crime.

Access to stored data

Data from Dyfed-Powys, and other forces, is submitted to the National ANPR Data Centre, where it is stored for two years. We have clear rules to control access to ANPR data to ensure it is for legitimate investigation.

Staff only have access if it is relevant to their role, and most can only access data 90 days from the date it was collected. Some staff can access data for up to two years if authorised by a senior officer. After 90 days access can only be for serious, major or counter terrorism investigations, and after 12 months only for major investigations and counter terrorism purposes.

ANPR data searches can confirm if vehicles associated with a known criminal have been in the area at the time of a crime, and can dramatically speed up investigations.

Camera locations

ANPR cameras are mounted in police vehicles and also used at fixed locations where they will help to detect, deter and disrupt crime. In line with national policy we don’t disclose details of fixed locations as this information is likely to be of benefit to offenders and if known could reduce the value of ANPR to policing.

National guidelines state that if we propose to install additional ANPR cameras an assessment must take place to demonstrate a clear need, taking account of:

  • National security and counter terrorism
  • Serious, organised and major crime
  • Local crime
  • Community confidence and reassurance, and crime prevention and reduction

When assessing if new cameras should be deployed, a Privacy Impact Assessment will be undertaken. The law enforcement agency will consult with people and organisations with a reasonable interest in the proposal, unless that would be contrary to the purpose of the cameras. We are also committed to regularly review the location of ANPR cameras considering the criteria above, to make sure they remain justified. All reviews will consider the impacts on privacy.

Code of practice and national standards

The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice defines guiding principles for the use of ANPR which apply to police systems. National ANPR Standards for Policing (NASP) also provide the framework for the use of ANPR by the police and other law enforcement agencies. Copies of these documents are available at the National Police Chiefs' Council website.


Any request for information or complaints should be made to

ANPR Department, 
Dyfed Powys Police, 
Police Headquarters, 
PO Box 99,