Police in Cornwall are using automatic number plate recognition to make sure only essential journeys are being made during lockdown.

This weekend the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police Shaun Sawyer said ANPR cameras across the region would be used to help enforce Covid-19 regulations.

As well as static cameras at the roadside in numerous locations across the region, every officer in the force has access to an ANPR app on their devices which allows them to access live information about vehicles they pass.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has welcomed the move, describing the use of ANPR technology as "both innovative and necessary" during this third national lockdown.

It comes as police revealed they were called to more than 250 reported breaches in Devon and Cornwall during one shift alone on Sunday, and 885 over the course of last week – 699 of which were deemed suitable for further action.


Commissioner Hernandez said: “Covid is spreading rapidly across the whole of the UK, not least because this new strain of the virus is far more contagious.

“We need to be doing everything we possibly can to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The people of Devon and Cornwall have done a great job so far which is reflected in our case rates which are among the very lowest in the whole country.

“But we mustn’t become complacent. I was saddened to hear about the reports of hundreds of Covid breaches over the weekend, many of which are understood to be related to second homes.

“As such, I welcome the force’s use of ANPR to monitor vehicle movements and make sure the only journeys being made here are essential ones. Using this technology helps us see where certain vehicles have come from and allows officers to further investigate their reasons for travel.

“We have all been through so much this past year and I know this latest lockdown will be very difficult and frustrating for many people. But we must get this virus under control to stop the spread, save lives and protect our NHS.”

Speaking on Saturday, Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer called on everyone to "regulate yourself" in a bid to bring infection rates down.

He said: "1,000 people a day are dying. You know what to do, please do it.

"We are going to enforce and there is going to be an awful lot of activity and an awful lot of difficult conversations if this carries on.”