Victoria Police have enlisted their first patrol car with automatic number plate recognition technology, lagging behind other states. The technology, developed by Motorola Solutions Australia, is helpful for riders as it will reduce the need for police to pull riders over for licence checks or for dangerous high-speed pursuits. It will also help police catch those unlicensed riders on stolen and unregistered bikes who crash and adversely affect the road toll statistics for riders. We couldn’t get quick access to statistics of illegal riding and subsequent crashes. However, as an example, Queensland Main Roads says more than 5700 infringement notices were issued from 2015 to the end of October last year for riding an unregistered motorcycle or unlicensed riding. A few years ago VicPol noted that illegal riders represented a third of all fatal motorcycle crashes. They couldn’t provide a current breakdown for motorcycles, but did provide these sobering stats: Unauthorised drivers were at fault in 16% of all crashes in 2016; One in five injury collisions involving an unregistered vehicle also involved an unauthorised driver/rider. There were 23 crashes involving unlicensed motorcyclists from July 2017 – June 2018; and The number of stolen motorcycle offences were 2205 in the same period. VicPol plays catch-up Number plate recognition device on the roof of a patrol car The first VicPol patrol car with the recognition technology will be deployed in Bendigo with 220 more to be rolled out across the state over the next two years. The system will allow police to scan about 5000 number plates per shift. Their vehicles will also be fitted with video cameras for evidence. However, VicPol is playing a game of catch-up with other states. NSW Police say all marked Highway Patrol Vehicles and selected general duty vehicles already carry automatic number plate recognition technology. “Those that ride unregistered motorcycles, or ride unlicensed, continue to put themselves and other road users at great risk,” they told us. Queensland has 77 police cars and motorbikes with the tech with more due before the middle of the year. WA Police not only have them in some patrols cars, but also plan to include it in their speed and fixed cameras at airports, car parks and petrol stations. Plate recognition and speed cameras South Australian Police acknowledge they have them but were coy, as usual: “We wouldn’t provide the number of cars with ANPR cameras as we don’t generally discuss our resources.” But we’re glad they have them!