Motorway cameras let police and MI5 track all car trips across the country
By Jason Lewis
1st March 2009
The police and MI5 have been given access to a network of infrared cameras that can track millions of car journeys across Britain.
The 1,090 cameras read numberplates of cars on all motorways and major trunk roads, recording the time, date and location of the vehicle and storing the data for five years.
The Highways Agency installed the bright green cameras to calculate journey times. But last week a senior agency official confirmed they are being linked to a police database.
Driven round the bend: All car journeys on Britain's motorways could be tracked
Thousands of CCTV cameras across the country have also been converted to read numberplates – as have mobile cameras. Police helicopters can spot plates from the air and officers have live access to London’s Congestion Charge cameras.
The database is central to an operation orchestrated by the Association of Chief Police Officers and backed by £32million of Government cash.
But privacy campaigners attacked the move. Simon Davies, of Privacy International, said: ‘This is the latest layer in a plan to monitor people from the second they leave their front door to the moment they return. It is being constructed in secret.’