ALMOST 370 cars intercepted, 85 tickets given out, 27 unregistered vehicles caught, 24 unlicensed drivers pulled up, 21 notices to appear issued for 29 charges, four vehicles towed and three people taken in on various warrants all in three days.The statistics speak for themselves.
There is nowhere to hide from Automated Number Plate Recognition devices, a new technology employed by Cairns police signalling the end of the line for the region's traffic offenders.
Last week the Cairns Traffic Branch began Operation Identify the first concentrated operation specifically targeting unlicensed and unregistered drivers using the Far North's only ANPR device.
The latter results tell the tale of the operation's success in catching offenders last Friday, Saturday and Sunday alone.
A static police interception site along the Bruce Highway at Edmonton awaited all drivers identified by the device, which was stationed inside a vehicle 1km away.
Digital cameras with infrared technology for night operation scanned the numberplates of all vehicles travelling in both directions, instantaneously checking the characters on the plate against the police database at the station through a satellite connection.
Those plates carrying registration or licensing issues or linked to a vehicle or person of police interest were then flashed on a computer screen and radioed by the car's officer to the interception site, where more officers awaited to pull them over.
While older technology would have required officers to physically type the number-plate into a computer as the driver passed, the ANPR device is now the most effective tool local police have in catching offenders on the road, according to the Officer in Charge of the Cairns Road Policing Command.
"It's a very good screening device that can scan a lot of cars very quickly and pick out those that might be of interest to us without holding up others," said Acting Senior Sergeant Mark Buckman.
And it won't be long before the ANPR devices are rolled out across the Cairns police fleet, with the command's
Acting Sergeant Greg Rose saying all local police vehicles were expected to be fitted with the devices over the next year.
Operation Identify, which continues until tomorrow, is one of several similar operations to be conducted in the lead-up to stricter vehicle impoundment laws starting on November 1, when first-time burnout offenders will have their car impounded for 90 days instead of 48 hours and unlicensed or unregistered vehicle drivers caught for a second time will have their ride taken for seven days instead of just 48 hours.
But Acting Sen-Sgt Buckman reassured drivers that not everyone intercepted due to use of an ANPR device were necessarily offenders.
"The devices identify if the owner of the car is unlicensed, but that owner might not be driving, and it might say the car is unregistered but if they've paid their rego the database might not have updated yet."
"That said, it is pretty accurate," he said.
Friday to Sunday statistics
369 vehicles intercepted
369 RBTs conducted
85 tickets issued
21 notices to appear issued for 29 charges
4 vehicles towed for repeat offences
3 people caught on various warrants
27 unregistered vehicles caught
24 unlicensed drivers caught