Armed police and dog units have been drafted in to help tackle crime on the roads.

Operation Street has been launched by the police in partnership with the DVLA and the Motor Insurance Bureau this week.

By using the latest automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and technology, they are able to make sure uninsured or untaxed drivers are taken off the road,.

They can also call on the support of armed officers if they trace dangerous criminals’ vehicles.

The technology was pivotal in cracking a case where a gang of six men went “mob handed” from Sussex to Dorset in order to commit a violent robbery for valuable computer equipment in September last year.

Thanks to ANPR cameras the group was picked up both entering and leaving Dorset, then returning to Sussex, where armed police swooped in to make the arrests.

The latest operation has been backed by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, who joined senior officers on patrol in Dyke Road Avenue in Hove yesterday.

She said: “It is really important to the public because they tell me that road safety matters to them.

“This is where taxpayers’ money is being spent. Today is about enforcement and keeping people safe by preventing the use of the roads to those who are driving without insurance or tax paid, and those of interest to the police.”

Mrs Bourne said there were more than 29,000 reports of anti-social driving on the roads in Sussex last year, and more than 1,000 people died.

Meanwhile accidents involving uninsured drivers affect everyone by driving up the cost of premiums.

Inspector Chris Smith was in charge of road police officers checking the ANPR cameras. He said that the cameras in Dyke Road had stopped several motorists in the first few hours of the operation.

The cameras pick up motorists passing the cameras, while police are then deployed tactically to be able to pick up errant drivers and criminals.

He said: “ANPR is such a useful tool to have because it gives us a fantastic tactical option to target criminals and people committing road traffic offences.”

In the past officers had to rely on vehicle descriptions to carry out searches.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said: “While we recognise the vast majority of motorists are not criminals, most criminals are motorists. They use the road networks to carry out their crimes.

“We target these criminals and prevent crimes being committed in the first place.”