Hirsch Ballin and Ter Horst: Widen the Scope for Number Plate Recognition

Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin and Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ter Horst want to ensure that the police are able to use automatic number plate recognition by cameras on a wider scale, in order to trace suspects of criminal offences. A legislative proposal on this measure will be submitted shortly. The Ministers took this initiative in reaction to a ruling given today by the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP).

Automatic number plate recognition by cameras is already allowed in police investigations involving the tracing of stolen cars and missing, sentenced and wanted persons, for instance. In such cases the cameras produce immediate hits.

According to the CBP it is now prohibited by law to keep the data of passing cars, motor cycles and trucks that don’t produce a hit.

Hirsch Ballin and Ter Horst want to change that, so that the system can be used to trace criminal offences that only become known at a later date. This may concern, for instance, cars and trucks that have just been stolen and have been used in a hold-up, for instance, or cars that belong to persons who later become suspects. In the interest of criminal investigations it should then be possible to trace the whereabouts of such a vehicle at a later date.

Until the law is changed, the police will refrain from storing and keeping the data of vehicles that don’t produce a hit.