Devon and Cornwall Police are appealing against a ruling which could lead to its 45 secret traffic cameras being revealed, saying this would hinder crime fighting.
The automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras' locations were requested under Freedom of Information laws.
The locations were sought by Guardian Government Computing, which appealed to the Information Rights Tribunal (IRT) and received a ruling in its favour. The IRT ordered that the information be disclosed within 35 days. Thousands of secret cameras across Britain could eventually have their locations revealed as a result.
More than 10,000 covert cameras photograph and record the registration numbers of motorists every day. The information is used against a national database to track criminals and has proved vital in tackling criminals. Motorists convicted of speeding can find it harder to avoid hikes in theircar insurance premiums.
"There is no doubt that since the advent of ANPR the police's ability to proactively target criminals on the road network has increased dramatically. Showing a criminal the exact location of a camera will make those cameras easier to avoid and thus make capturing criminals more difficult," said a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police.
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