Our intrepid readers will note that DRONELIFE has covered the ever-expanding explosion in drone use among law enforcement in detail over the past several months. In fact, police agencies outside the U.S. seem to be outpacing Americans as the trend widens (as covered here, here and here).
Case in point: Police in the Australian state of New South Wales may win the award for Largest Police Drone Deployment of 2016 (that’s a thing isn’t it?).
At the Police Technology Forum in Canberra, state police officials announced a plan to fund 100 drones with 60 pilots in an effort to replace costly manned aircraft missions.
“The NSW Police’s remote piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) unit was created out of a report from the rescue and bomb disposal squad which pointed to the potential benefits of unmanned aircraft,” writes Paris Cowan for ITNews.
Chief Inspector Stefan Kent told the audience that the department – with a $66,000 (AUS) grant — has already tested a pilot program using seven pilots and several DJI Inspire UAVs.
“You don’t need a $200,000 aircraft,” Kent said. With drone deployment, “you can get that footage straight to tactical command, you can see obstacles, you can see people hiding behind buildings, you can see runners going out the back door,” he added.
Kent also sees a drone program saving time and money in crime scene and traffic accident investigations. “We can get an image of the crime scene or the crash scene in anywhere from five to 15 minutes,” he said.
Drones are slowly catching on in nearly every region Down Under– in Western Australia, police use drones to locate missing prospectors in the aptly-named Goldfields region. Prospectors often seek their fortunes in the more remote areas and at least two have gone missing in the past several months. Since manned SAR missions can cost a lot in people power and funds, police officials say drones may provide a more effective and budget-friendly way out.
Cowan reports NSW police will next present a cost analysis to the state treasury in hopes of expanding the drone program. However, Cowan also points out the plan could still face many regulatory hurdles:
“Some of the issues around the forensic viability of drone-captured evidence, such as measurements taken of a photographed crime scene, are yet to be nutted out from a legal perspective. The NSW Police is also in consultation with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority about staying within the parameters of flight regulations.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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