We've got simple cctv cameras with IR illuminator around the lens up at the
local hall. Lately there's been a problem with boy racers gathering after
dark in the car park and antisocial behaviour ensues.
The cars can be viewed but reflective number plates are just a washout pres
umably caused by the direct reflection of the IR. Has anyone had success in
capturing readable images of number plates after dark using economic camer
as? I'm guessing the use of a non illuminated camera with a separate illumi
nator from an angled location might solve the reflection washout of the ima
ge but the hall doesn't want to spend funds without being sure it will work
IANAL but if the police are unwilling to take action on the basis of any timed CCTV
footage you can provide them with already - basically by lying in wait and catching
them in the act - then I doubt your being able to record the number plates would make
While parking co's record and make use of number plate footage in order to impose
penalties, I think there are fairly strict conditions they have to comply with - by way
of notices etc.
IOW before seeking any more technical information it might be worth simply checking
with the local police and seeking their advice. As obviously number plate information
is no good in itself, no matter how clear it is, if there's nothing you can do with it.
One report, of anti-social use of a motor vehicle (with number) can
result in the police issuing the owner with a warning. A second report
within a period can result in the vehicle being seized. They are far
more likely to do something if you can give the number. They are not
going to "waste" resources on lying in wait for relatively minor
As a matter of interest, how do they guard against against malicious reports ?
Relatively minor anti-social behaviour which nevertheless as you've just explained
above, can apprently result in a vehicle being seized, on tne second occasion of
something being reported by a member of the public.
Fair enough if that was possible. But I was asking in relation to
their simply being "given" the number. What's to stop anyone
maliciously reporting a neighbour of anti-social driving along
with their car number ?
More especially if the neighbour is unpopular and other
neighbours are willing to back up the malicious complaint.
The description of the process makes no mention of CCTV, although
obviously that would help.
Or there again even better somebody could "borrow" the neighbours
car do a few wheelies and get caught on the CCTV even better.
Sorry I wasn't clear. By "borrow" there, I meant borrowed without the
owner's knowledge or consent. Basically the owner, the unpopular
neighbour, would be sound asleep in bed and their car would be nicked
from outside their house and driven to where there was a convenient
CCTV camera - anti social behaviour with the car would ensue
and it would be returned to outside their house.
Providing there were no CCTVs directly outside their house, once the people
who'd "borrowed" the car reported them to the police, I'd imagine they'd
have a hard job convincing the police it wasn't they themselves who were
involved in the anti social behaviour in front of the CCTV camera.
In fact, following the example of the guy in the Columbo episode
"Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star" they could even wear masks
so as to look like the unpoular neighbour. But he'd probably
need to be a real PITA, to go to that much trouble.
They don’t have to with video footage.
In our case they show up at the alleged criminal's place
and ask them for their version of the story. Just happened
to a mate of mine. His wife was driving his ute which was
loaded with big stuff so she couldn’t see what cars were
behind her. Someone told the cops that that ute run them
off the road when they tried to overtake. When the cops
showed up to get his version of the story, he said that
he didn’t know anything about it, because he didn’t
realise that his wife was the one driving when it
happened because he wasn’t in the ute at the time.
The cops have decided to do nothing about
it, without even bothering to tell him that.
That is one of the problems that struck me when this legislation was
introduced. Lacking CCTV evidence, I think that it was mentioned at the
time that it had to be from two independent members of the public. Still
not a lot of protection.
Even worse is that there is no right of appeal or avenue for doing so in
the legislation. The only route to fight it is apparently by judicial
review, which would be very expensive and time consuming. I suppose it
would have to be fought out in court on the basis of the owner showing
that the accusers were known to them or associated with people who they
have a dispute with or by showing that you were not the driver -
although the offence can be "attached" to the vehicle and not just the
These days though, I would expect that the police would be wanting to
see CCTV or phone video evidence.
The relevant legislation is Section 59. It is not very clear, but
apparently (confirmed on police forums and lawyers guidance forums), but
the officer only needs to "believe" that the vehicle is being used in an
anti-social manner, likely to cause distress or annoyance and that
belief can simply be by them receiving reports from the public.
It is wide open to abuse. However, I presume that it is not being hugely
abused or there would be stories in the papers about it.
No-one else has even tried to answer your question. They have been too
busy acting like barrack room lawyers.
The problem is partly that reflective number plates dazzle the camera,
partly that the number plate will be grossly over-exposed because it
reflects the IR, and partly that the shutter speed will be automatically
low so there will be motion blur.
There is no easy solution. You might do better to aim for clear
identification shots of the bikes and riders. One way is to have a
reasonable level of visible light (30W LED floods) and a camera with a
big lens set for a fast shutter speed. Pre-focus on the roadway because
the depth of field will be poor. Set the camera so it doesn't switch to
monochrome, since colour aids identification.
My dashcam - a cheapo Aldidl one - starts recording when it
If there is somewhere you could mount one where it is
reasonable safe and protected from the weather - even if
someone has to install it every night just before it gets dark
and retrieve it later - I wonder if it would work?
By masking its own IR LEDs and placing it at a different angle
to the problem area - possibly near ground level - I wonder if
it won't be flooded by the IR from the main camera and record
the registration numbers? A simple check with a hand held unit
one night would prove or disprove the idea.
Make certain that the date and timestamps on both cameras are
correct so that the two recordings tally. Then you would have
the main camera recording events while the dashcam records the
The internal battery on mine is rubbish so you might nead an
external battery supply but that should be easy to arrange.
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