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Public Sector Roundup: Plate scanner cuts crime

A Manchester mall uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition to cut crime by 65 per cent, Barking patients get free text reminders, and Wigan invests to improve customer service.

ANPR system cuts crime at Manchester mall

Trafford Park


The 285,000 ANPR was partially funded by the Home Office, and has cut such crimes from 40 per month to eight. Since it was deployed in 2003, it has lead to the arrest of 100 offenders and the return of 100 stolen cars.

The system uses the shopping centre's CCTV as well as specialised cameras to take pictures of number plates, which are simultaneously compared with records of vehicles related to crimes.

Mark Aspin, Strategic Development Manager at Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council, said: "We had a police target to decrease car crime by 30 per cent, so to have bettered the target by more than double is great news for the local community and people visiting the Trafford Centre... Civica's ANPR system has also helped with other sorts of acquisitive crime such as shop lifting and credit card theft, as well as helping convict criminals for armed robbery offences."

Barking patients get text reminders

Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust


The system, funded by the PCT, will let patients reply by text if they need to cancel appointments and will send out messages about health concerns including smoking, flu and immunisations.

Dr J John, GP at the King Edwards Medical Centre, and one of the 13 practices who have already signed up to Patient Care Messaging, said: "Mobile phones are used by a lot of our patients and so text messaging is an effective way to communicate with them... This service has the potential to increase significantly the number of patients attending clinics as well as saving on surgery administration costs."

Wigan gets 400,000 customer service

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council


The contract is expected to help council employees resolve 80 per cent of customer problems at the first point of contact, as well as cut costs and allow for more flexible working.

Peter Livesey, assistant director of finance and IT at the council, said: "Wigan council is committed to delivering a sustainable programme of improvements based on our citizens' needs."

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