Neuchatel, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Neuchatel’s cantonal police are to deploy a new type of camera connected to a computer containing the number plates of all cars, mostly French, whose owners have unpaid fines, the police announced 21 November. The license plate number is scanned and compared to the database in less than a second. If there is a match, a second team of police officers can stop the car and ask the driver for his details.
In a test phase along the canton’s border crossings with France, one in 12 of the 8,700 cars checked came up positive, according to Pascal Luthi, spokesman for the Neuchatel police. In less than 14 hours of testing the machine, Neuchatel police discovered 1,100 outstanding fines for a total of CHF81,000. The machine costs about CHF40,000, Luthi told GenevaLunch.
The police hope that the deployment marks an end to the impunity of people who do not bother to pay fines of less than CHF120, mainly speeding tickets or parking fines. Luthi also points out that in many cases the driver may not even be aware that he has broken the law, if the amount of the fine does not warrant cross-border assistance. Fines above CHF120 come within the scope of transnational administrative assistance agreements.