Installation of Automatic License Plate Recognition System in Customs Offices

Project completed

With the project, license plate recognition systems in Estonian seaports will be installed to improve the work of different state authorities in combating organised crime – especially tax fraud and smuggling – and thus to ensure greater safety in the whole Schengen area.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Enhanced security and safety
Border protection
14.04.2011 - 30.06.2013
CHF  460’000

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


The task of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (ETCB) is to protect the society and economy through prevention and detection of tax frauds and illicit trafficking of goods. The automatic license plate recognition system (LPRS) enables customs officers to obtain necessary information on movements of goods, persons and vehicles. In addition, LPRS enables authorities to identify vehicles (containers) in real time without direct presence of the officials in charge. LPRS already has been installed on the land borders, whereas in seaports there is no such system, which causes a lack of efficiency with regard to tax collections.


The overall objective of the project is to equip the Estonian seaports with system cameras of the automatic license plate recognition system LPRS and to integrate these recognition points with the LPRS central system of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board. The license plate recognition system LPRS is enabling customs and supervisory authorities to: (i) obtain information on the movement of the means of transport (containers) in real time; (ii) identify the history of movement of vehicles that have passed LPRS; and (iii) generate and manage alerts in respect of not timely paid taxes.

Target groups

Law enforcement agencies of the European Union and EAA


The Administrative Department of the ETCB will (i) organize a public tender under which systems and related IT solutions will be procured; (ii) evaluate submitted bids; (iii) plan and design recognition points; and (iv) supervise the installation of the LPRS.


Achieved results:  


  • The operating LPRS has been installed in the Estonian seaports
  • License plate recognition system (LPRS) collects and stores data on movements of vehicles
  • Records of the LPRS are stored, processed and analysed; results of analysis are used for the selection of control objects. LPRS generates alerts on suspicious vehicles
  • Operational and tactical work of intelligence units of law enforcement agencies is notably improved
  • Improved communication and exchange of information between the law
    enforcement agencies is achieved

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • National State Institute North

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    460’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    460’000
Project phases

Phase 1 14.04.2011 - 30.06.2013   (Completed)