Expensive anti-terrorism camera system along highways largely ineffective

Expensive anti-terrorism camera system along highways largely ineffective
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An expensive system of cameras installed along highways after the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels is largely ineffective, according to a report by Committee P, which oversees police services.

The dozens of so-called ANPR cameras are meant to read license plates and cross reference them against a law enforcement database, De Standaard reports, raising an alarm if a suspicious vehicle appeared along Belgian highways.

The system cost around €40 million to install, but the committee’s report found that police response to alarms raised by the camera varied enormously.

“In the worst case, the chance of interception can be reduced to zero,” the report found.

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It gave an example of a car with a stolen license plate that was spotted by the camera system for 22 days in a row between 3:40 and 4:17,always at the same border crossing, always in the same direction of travel.

For three weeks, no one from law enforcement thought to investigate.

Not enough police officers

Reasons for the ineffectiveness of the system were multiple, including the fact that the cameras are said to give false alarms up to 80% of the time, making police less likely to trust them. There’s also a lack of personnel when it comes to provincial police control rooms and in the teams in the field.

There is rarely the capacity to actually go after a suspicious car, the report found.

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