opp licence plate reader

Ontario cops automatically scan licence plates for all sorts of offences

The tiniest of driving infractions can now automatically be recognized with a new technology rolling out across Ontario - and it will start raking in charges.

According to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Sergeant Kerry Schmidt, the OPP is now using an Automatic Licence Plate Reader (ALPR) system which can alert officers to expired licences, registrations and other offences without having to pull anybody over.

Schmidt provided a video example of just how efficiently the technology works, saying it flagged 32 vehicles in just 22 minutes while he was conducting a traffic stop on Highway 403.

The system found one suspended driver, four unlicensed drivers and 27 expired vehicle registrations in that time frame.

"With this automatic licence plate system, it is incredible, since we stopped this car at about 3:08 p.m., it’s now 3:25 p.m., we've had about two dozen vehicles flagged as we've been sitting here," said Schmidt.

The system is so cop-friendly, officers don't even have to pull vehicles over as the system automatically flags potential infractions as vehicles drive by as the cops sit back and watch the offences roll in.

A similar system is employed by the Toronto Police Service to identify stolen vehicles. 

According to Windsor Police, who also use the ALPR, the camera system is installed on the police cruiser and scans every licence plate that passes by. It provides officers with a "limited subset" of information already available through the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) databases.

"It's surprisingly accurate and it comes back with the readings pretty instantly, it's almost like having a second officer in the vehicle while you're driving around," said Sammy Nasar, the office partnered with Schmidt.

The system will soon be available to OPP detachments across the province, meaning now is the time to update your plates and registration.

It is free to renew your registration on the MTO website, which Schmidt highly recommends you do immediately.

Lead photo by

Ontario Provincial Police

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