Cyprus traffic police get smarter

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Cyprus traffic police are getting “smarter” as they received close to 100 patrol vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art systems, including number plate recognition and portable speed cameras.

Following the introduction of a new traffic camera network, the police recently received 96 new vehicles, which will help the force crackdown on speeding and traffic violations to reduce road accidents.

Nine vehicles will not look like police cars, with officers roaming the island’s roads ‘incognito’ and performing speed checks on secondary roads.

The new tactic is to locate motorists who violate speed limits, feeling comfortable in the absence of a police patrol or speed camera.

All officers driving the new vehicles will have to be in uniform.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, the director of the force’s Department of Technological Development, Loizos Prastitis, said the smart vehicles that have been received would be used on the secondary road network to reduce fatal accidents.

Of these, 44 are SUVs and will replace the older ones, which no longer meet the operational needs of the police.

The fleet of smart vehicles will be reinforced with 42 vehicles carrying the ANPR system (Automatic number-plate recognition).

The system can recognise a vehicle’s number plate and run a check with the force’s database to identify other violations, such as if the owner paid their road tax payments or if the vehicle has an MOT.

The system will also identify whether there is a pending arrest warrant against the vehicle’s owner.

The police fleet will also be reinforced with two new vehicles acting as mobile command stations.

“These vehicles will be used at crime scenes and are expected to reduce the time it takes for witnesses and suspects to testify, as the process will take place on-site,” said Prastitis.

Police expect another five anti-riot vehicles and the first three electric vehicles for neighbourhood policing.