Automatic Licence Plate Recognition System


Our Service uses an Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) system. This technology has been incorporated into our patrol vehicles and serves as a component of our policing equipment. This system is designed to automatically scan licence plates and alerts officers about various investigations such as stolen licence plates and/or vehicles, licence plates associated with suspended drivers, and other infractions. The ALPR streamlines an officer's ability to acquire information that is normally gathered through manual searches of law enforcement and Ministry of Transportation (MTO) databases, thereby enhancing our operational efficiency and public safety efforts.


The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has released guidelines on the use of ALPR systems by police services. This report ensures that the use of ALPR technology across the province respects the privacy rights recognized under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that personal information is managed in a lawful manner. The Windsor Police Service (WPS) worked with the Information and Privacy Commissionerof Ontario on the development of a Privacy Impact Assessment for the use of this technology. The collection, retention, use, and disclosure of any personal information obtained from the ALPR program is done so in compliance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

Frequently Asked Questions
What does it look like?

A camera mounted on the windshield inside the police cruiser.

How does it work?

The ALPR system continuously scans licence plates and notifies the operating officer of any hits. For example, if the system scanned the licence plate of a stolen vehicle, it would notify the officer of a potential criminal offence. The scanner does not record video and will only analyze pictures for licence plates.

What is a hit?

A hit occurs when a licence plate is scanned and matched to a hotlist.

What is a non-hit?

A non-hit occurs when a licence plate is scanned and does not match an entry on a hotlist.

What is a hotlist?

A hotlist is a list of licence plates that have been identified by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), or the WPS as being of interest to police.

Why would a plate be added to the hotlist?

A plate can be added to the hotlist for reasons including, but not limited to:

  • stolen vehicles
  • stolen licence plates
  • expired permits
  • if the owner of the licence plate is:
    • a suspended driver
    • wanted
    • missing

When a licence plate is scanned, what happens to that data?

All information related to a non-hit is deleted within approximatey 24 hours in accordance with WPS Policy.

Information related to a hit is retained in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).