Automatic licence plate recognition (ALPR) systems have been installed on police cruisers in 50 US states by ELSAG North America to enhance traffic safety and intelligence gathering.

The system, Mobile Plate Hunter-900 (MPH-900) uses an infrared camera to scan the licence plates of vehicles in seconds.

It also translates the digital pictures into data and cross-references that information with databases to provide instantaneous information to the police.

Nearly 600 agencies in every state across the US are using the new system.

The robust system, capable of querying 1,500 plate numbers per hour, helps to create a ‘hot list’ of vehicles that are being sought in connection with local crimes. It will also be useful in the event of an Amber Alert.