'We can spot the detection before you can spot us': Gardaí can now check car’s status 1km from checkpoint

Tim Willoughby, who is An Garda Síochána’s head of innovation and digital services, was demonstrating the range of the devices as part of a presentation to the JPC highlighting the latest technological advances made in road policing.
'We can spot the detection before you can spot us': Gardaí can now check car’s status 1km from checkpoint

Assistant Commissioner Dave Sheehan and Chief Supt Con Cadogan demonstrating new technology which enables Gardaí to see immediately if vehicles are taxed and insured in an instant at a checkpoint along the N25 near Carrigtwohill recently. Picture: Howard Crowdy

THE latest technology available to members of An Garda Síochána means that speeding vehicles can be detected from over a kilometre away, this week’s meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) heard.

“So you’ll be delighted that we can spot the detection before you can spot us,” An Garda Síochána’s top technical advisor said to laughter as he demonstrated the 1km-plus range of the new speed guns.

Tim Willoughby, who is An Garda Síochána’s head of innovation and digital services, was demonstrating the range of the devices as part of a presentation to the JPC highlighting the latest technological advances made in road policing.

Mr Willoughby said it was part of a range of new integrated hand-held technological devices which will make garda work far more efficient, eliminating paperwork, and helping to make people’s lives a lot safer.

“When you see a garda at a checkpoint holding up a phone, they’re not actually photographing you or filming, they’re scanning, they’re reading the numberplate and it automatically tells them which cars to pull in,” he said.

An Garda Síochána’s new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology allows gardaí to access the Pulse system and a series of other databases to identify instantly whether a vehicle is taxed, insured, or has an NCT, or whether there are any outstanding issues relating to the vehicle or its driver.

Welcoming the new technological advances in policing, county councillor Frank Roche cautioned against that what he saw as gardaí being “harder on the motorist” might turn the public against them, and warned that the level of rural crime meant “the gardaí need the people on their side”.

Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan responded that it would be criminals who would be affected most by increased efficiencies in policing, and noted that since 2020 over 4,000 vehicles had been seized for having no insurance, which he said was the direct result of technological advances being used by the force.

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