ANPR Access Control

The use of ANPR for parking enforcement has grown rapidly in recent years, and this trend is predicted to continue. Controlling vehicle access to facilities is one of the challenges faced by operations managers, and this is where ANPR access control can help.

First, let’s answer the question: what is ANPR?

ANPR is short for Automatic Number Plate Recognition, also known as Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) in the USA and other countries. ANPR can be combined with cameras and other technology to create a multi-use vehicle and driver identification system.

What is an ANPR camera?

ANPR cameras are commonly used around the UK and in other countries. ANPR cameras record vehicle registration plates and this information is used alongside location data for a variety of law enforcement and traffic management purposes.

Learn how ANPR camera systems work with ZatPark

How does ANPR work?

When a vehicle passes an ANPR camera, it automatically ‘reads’ the vehicle number plate (known as the Vehicle Registration Mark or VRM) and sends it along with the image taken and associated data to a back office system for processing for various law enforcement, traffic and parking management processes.

A car park ANPR system uses the image data collected by the camera to help identify the vehicle registered owner should enforcement action be needed to assist a car park operator in enforcing the parking rules at a particular site.

If you would like to learn more, read our article, What is ANPR? Also, if you are new to parking technology and you’re wondering what all the acronyms and terms are, read our Parking Glossary.

Why use ANPR for car park enforcement?

Private parking companies are turning to ANPR technology to solve the problems of managing parking sites, particularly for enforcing contraventions. ANPR is a solution that helps parking operators to reduce and maintain low operating costs, accurately record contraventions, gather contravention evidence, and provide data for analysis and vehicle access control. 

Understand the difference between CCTV and ANPR

ANPR access control and permits

Car park management companies need to monitor vehicle entry and exit on their parking sites. For example, an ANPR parking management system can be used for vehicle access control where ticketless parking is in use. 

Zatpark - highway toll gate with cars driving up - anpr for toll gates

ANPR access control systems can be integrated with a parking permit system to control barriers and provide access to permitted vehicles. This combination of integrated ANPR cameras, ANPR barrier systems and parking permit software is often used to manage access control for residential housing, offices, highway and bridge toll gates, airports, hospital car parks and more. 

ANPR systems are capable of providing real-time identification of a vehicle for drivers that have registered with the parking company for access to the site. The camera will read the VRM and look up the result in the parking company system database. It will automatically check the vehicle has the authority to park and open the barrier should a valid parking session be identified.

If a vehicle overstays its session times, the system will automatically register the contravention and highlight the record for processing. At this stage, the parking enforcement system can request the vehicle details from the DVLA database, including the keeper’s address, who will immediately return additional driver and vehicle information for further action.

What is the difference between ANPR and CCTV? Find out..

ANPR access control for security

Parking operators may need to stop unauthorised vehicles from entering their sites by using an ‘allow list’ of authorised vehicles. Similarly, operators can use a ‘block list’ of unauthorised vehicles. The block list may contain vehicles with invalid or expired permits or vehicles identified as repeat contravention offenders. 

Ensuring only permitted vehicles enter a private parking location reduces the risk of vehicle theft, theft from vehicles, and serious crimes such as assaults. Some companies combine ANPR and CCTV cameras with software systems to create a security surveillance system that enhances the security of their site.

Learn about CCTV vs ANPR

ANPR for law enforcement

ANPR used by law enforcement agencies is very different from its use in private parking access control.

The UK’s national ANPR infrastructure is used by the Police and Government security agencies to monitor criminal activity. The Police will ‘flag’ a vehicle known to have been connected to criminal activity. 

The UK Police and Government security agencies use the national ANPR infrastructure (a network of ANPR cameras) to detect, deter and disrupt criminality, and it can be used for;

  • Flagging vehicles that are uninsured 
  • Flagging untaxed vehicles (this can also be performed by some local authorities) 
  • identifying stolen or suspicious vehicles 
  • disrupting major, and organised crime 
  • supporting Government security agencies.

ANPR access control solutions

As we’ve mentioned earlier, integrated ANPR cameras, barriers and permits are often used to manage access control and are suited to many industries.

ANPR access control is suitable for local authority car parks, restricting access to office parking, as well as hotels, gyms and leisure facilities. This type of access control can also be used for industrial sites, for example, at shipping ports where registered trucks are permitted to enter and exit secured dock sites. Similarly, this access control solution is used at military and high-security sites.

ANPR access control for customer service with ZatPark

ANPR access control for customer service

Providing great customer service is the bedrock of consumer-facing businesses, and ANPR can help improve customer experience.

An ANPR access control system makes entry and exit to retail and leisure facilities ‘light touch’. It can seamlessly open barriers as customers or club members drive in and out. With an ANPR access control system, there is no need for access cards or stopping to request access via an intercom. 

By integrating other smart systems with your access control, you can personalise your customer’s experience. For example, you can install digital display screens that personally welcome your customer to the building as they arrive because you know who they are from the registered vehicle information.

As we move towards creating smart cities with interconnected hardware and software systems, technology like ANPR will become commonplace, and our communities will experience the benefits of improved security and personalised service.

Learn about ANPR & CCTV

How ZatPark ANPR helps

ZatPark is a cloud-based parking management service. It provides end-to-end management of parking management processes. ZatPark’s advanced back office suite integrates seamlessly with a host of third-party ANPR, appeals, and debt resolution suppliers.

Benefits of ANPR from ZatPark

  • ZatPark ANPR improves efficiency and extends your enforcement hours
  • Improves customer service
  • Seamlessly integrates the processing of ANPR images
  • Provides innovative tools to minimise administration
  • Speeds up booking-in processes for pre-booked parking
  • Reduces your financial overhead
  • Reduces the need for on-foot patrolling officers
  • ZatMobile mobile app extends ZatPark’s ANPR features to on-foot staff
  • ZatMobile’s ANPR capability speeds up vehicle observations.

Talk to us to discover how ZatPark ANPR can help you

Read our case studies to see how car park management services solutions can help you

Britannia Parking

With over 25 years experience establishing and managing car parks, Britannia Parking is one of the most respected operators in the UK with a client base that includes Waitrose, The John Lewis Partnership, Liverpool Victoria, Savills and Greene King.

HX Car Park Management

HX Car Park Management Limited is the UK’s one-stop parking management company who operate nationwide and are based in West Yorkshire.

Napier Parking

Napier Parking have used technology provided by ZatPark to streamline its customer service with convenient payment and appeals options available via online web portals


NCPS core strength is to provide bespoke solutions incorporating best in breed IT systems.

North East Lincolnshire

North East Lincolnshire Council is a local authority serving 160,000 people. The Parking Service at NELC is delivered through a regeneration partnership with EQUANS Services Limited.