Numberplate theft and vehicle identification technology trials

Number plate theft, cloning and misuse are growing issues in Victoria that can impact on community safety and police resources. Here’s what we are doing to address this problem. 


Number plate theft, cloning and misuse affects us all, stretching frontline police and impacting vehicle owners. In the 12 months to September 2018, there were over 19,000 incidents of number plate theft in Victoria, an increase of over five per cent from the previous year. And police and industry reports indicate that plate cloning and number plate-enabled crime are increasing too.

VicRoads, the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) and Victoria Police are working together to determine how we can best improve vehicle identification and reduce number plate theft and misuse.


We have contracted Monash University Accident Research Centre to investigate the role of number plate theft, cloning and misuse in other crimes, and to determine the overall size of the problem.

Technology trials 

We have contracted La Trobe University’s Centre for Technology Infusion to test two digital vehicle identification technologies:  passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC).

We are trialling how these digital technologies perform in different road conditions and traffic environments, and in common policing scenarios such as speed checks and routine traffic stops.

We will also be testing security features that can be embedded into number plates such as holographic images on driver’s licences and passports. 

Next steps

The research and trials are due to be completed in mid-2019. 

We will use this information to develop a strategic approach to improve vehicle identification and reduce number plate theft and misuse and its impact on the community.

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