An ANPR solution has to be evaluated on the basis of an incredibly large number of aspects, including the technological aspects, security, user-related aspects and, of course, economic considerations. There are numerous variations and, on top of that, new innovative solutions are constantly appearing on the market.
Gathering all the available data on developments and products would require vast resources and there would still be a risk of missing new options that could perhaps be crucial to the work of the police in the future.
Therefore, the Danish National Police decided to use Processio's OffentligPrivatDialog.dk platform and invite the players in the market to participate in a preliminary dialogue with a pre-procurement process.
Dorthe Kikkenborg Albrecht is the Danish National Police's project manager on the project and she regards the preliminary dialogue as a crucial pre-requisite for a good result in the forthcoming tendering process.
"On the part of the Danish National Police, we can provide information on the expected specifications, but what is absolutely crucial to us is that we are able to seek information that can be used to modify the specifications, identify any alternative solutions and gain an insight into the characteristics of the market and service options".
The pre-procurement process was set up with a time limit of 2 months. During this time, the Danish National Police will put regular questions out to the invited players. The questions are categorised under the four focus areas: Commercial conditions, Implementation, Product specifications and Service and maintenance. If the participants require further information on one of the focus areas they can obtain relevant information via the pre-procurement process.
However, the participants can also ask questions. At the end of the pre-procurement process during which the Danish National Police have asked 28 questions, there were 7 questions from private sector suppliers. In addition, the participants can also use the various dialogue threads to ask more detailed questions.
Manufacturers of ANPR solutions are large international companies spread over most of the world. This also played a role in the decision to choose OffentligPrivatDialog.dk.
Dorthe Kikkenborg Albrecht explains:
"Using a digital platform that is able to bring all the players together and give them the chance to participate in a dynamic dialogue across international borders and time zones means that we have the opportunity to form an individual impression of the various options available, gain access to a broad spectrum of knowledge and obtain an overview of current trends in the market".
The pre-procurement process has brought together suppliers from the UK, Hungary, France, Italy and Spain. The Danish National Police will take their contributions into consideration when they are preparing the tender material and also expect that the knowledge the suppliers have acquired during the process will better equip them to participate in the actual tendering process.
The final ANPR solution is expected to be ready to go into operation during 2015/2016.
In brief, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) involves police cars being fitted with cameras that can take pictures in all directions. The cameras photograph all passing vehicles and the pictures are converted immediately from picture format to text format which can then be used to look up registration numbers in the police's central database. If a vehicle is being traced, has been stolen, has problems with its insurance or is missing, the police officers are notified immediately that something is wrong.
The UK was the first country to introduce the technology. Police there had the first prototype ready in 1979.
The rest of the world started tentatively adopting it during the 90s, but the first example of the technology actually helping solve a murder was also in the UK. This was in 2005 in connection with the Sharon Beshenivsky murder case.
The UK is still, by far, the country in the world in which the use of ANPR is most prevalent