Can’t find time to get down to police headquarters to pay those parking fines?

Don’t worry, Johannesburg metro police are coming to you.

Metro police have unveiled South Africa’s first “smart roadside check” system that has taken conventional roadblocks to a whole new level.

Using a roadside camera and technology imported from the UK, passing cars’ number plates are checked in less than a second using an on-site computer linked to police databases, according to Metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

Vehicle and driver details are produced almost instantaneously, including whether or not vehicles are licenced and registered, number plates are legitimate, cars are stolen or whether or not drivers have outstanding, fines, warrants or summons.

Cameras can even capture number plates on cars travelling at 200km per hour.

According to Minnaar, the new high-tech systems has increased traffic fine collection rates from 28 to 51 percent in the year the system has been in place.

Currently, police have put five of the systems on the street at a cost of just under R1-million each.

The system is so user-friendly, in fact, that Minnaar said motorists passing these check points have voluntarily turned around and come to officers to pay outstanding fines they are aware of.

Motorists can pay fines via credit or debit cards and even Internet transfers using on-site connections.

Those paying the old-fashioned way in cash are offered cellphones in order to call friends and family to come deliver the money and can wait in nearby minibuses allocated for the purpose.

Unfortunately, no cash still means a trip “downtown.”

Other system features include the ability to print summons on the spot for those who have failed to appear in court or to actually receive the summons due to changes in address.

Motorists are also issued with printed receipts of any payments made as well as copies of the relevant warrants or fines.

The system is expected to help police fight car theft more effectively.