You are here
Using drones in crime fighting
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They have been used extensively, with deadly effect, in the war theatre and this has led to expanded programmes. They are essentially flying robots which are controlled from command centres which may be thousands of miles away. They provide aerial surveillance and armed options.
This technology was initially developed for and used in space exploration. The Mars Rover is a famous example. It was incorporated into the military and now has made its way into civilian domain. This has precedents with many technologies, including the solar photovoltaic technologies.
In the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, it is reported that present non-military application of drones include uses in agriculture, wild life management, news reporting and environmental analysis. The drone business, in effect, is set for a boom like wrist watches in days gone by, the personal computers in a more recent era, and smart phones at present.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that the use of commercial drones in the airspace of the USA could start in two years. It is expected to bring about radical changes in the way business is done and in surveillance and police work. Many countries, both developing and developed, are actively engaged in programmes of drone usage.
The time is then right for T&T to seriously consider the incorporation of drone technology to resolve some of the burning issues facing the country. Talking about burning issues, aerial observation of the mountains, particularly the Northern Range, to spot bush fires can greatly assist in their control and preventing them from spreading.
Having drones flying over the highways to spot traffic offenders is a very straight forward application and can almost be instantaneously implemented. Their very presence may have the desired effect for, if drivers know that their traffic transgressions are being observed and recorded, they are more likely to observe the law.
Policing work, however, may receive the greatest boost from the incorporation of UAV technology. As noted by CNBC, several police departments in the US are possession of special FAA permits to fly the drones. These drones are unarmed and their technology is somewhere between that of hobbyist helicopters and military-grade drones. They can be viewed, from a layman’s perspective, as a flying video camera that can transmit its recordings wirelessly to another location while being aware of its own location at all times.
These recording and transmitting technologies exist in all smart phones and the flying technology is that of existing and popular hobbyist toy machines. In this regard, nothing new, technology-wise, is really been introduced. In fact, cell phones are already being used to record nefarious and illegal activities by both criminals and those sworn to protect and uphold the law.
Drones are very small and the command centres equally small and may be mobile. This would facilitate the expeditious surveillance of small areas, unlike the previous blimp technology which was large and slow-moving and required a special air base. In such instances, aerial monitoring of areas prone to disturbances and illegal activities can be focussed on.
The successful implementation of this UAV technology into crime fighting would require the introduction of the appropriate legislation with regard to airspace usage and privacy issues. The operational aspects would require a technology-based unit within the police service. The military drone programme does include civilians and private contractors. This model may be looked at for possible application here.
Drone technology can provide a powerful element in the critical battle on crime. It should be introduced here.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.