Automated Licence Plate Reader System (Synopsis)

Service de police de la Ville de Montréal

Description: In February 2011, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) began piloting the use of automated licence plate readers. This technology uses specialized cameras to identify licence plate numbers and check them against the police database for infractions (such as a suspended driver’s licence or expired plates). The technology helps police apprehend drivers for infractions such as revoked or suspended permits and expired or non-existent plates on vehicles. The police service’s adoption of this technology increases public awareness that drivers could be pulled over for such infractions. The technology also helps police investigate matters such as missing persons and stolen vehicles.

In the initial phase of the pilot, the police service installed automated licence plate readers in three cars. The project was then expanded to 30 vehicles.
Objective: This initiative has several objectives:
  • improve driver compliance with road safety laws (including the requirement for permits and licence plates);
  • improve police efficiency (for example, when looking for missing persons or during Amber Alerts); and
  • increase the enforcement and investigative capacity of the police service through the use of modern and efficient technology.
Outcomes: This initiative remains in the pilot phase and as such it is too early to evaluate outcomes.
Resources: Quebec’s provincial automobile insurance agency (Sociéte de l’assurance automobile du Québec, or SAAQ) is providing partial funding for this project ($175,000 for the first year and $150,000 for the second year). The SPVM funds the balance of the project (specific figures are not available).
Province: Quebec
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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