Victoria Police suggests use of public surveillance drones

By on 25 September, 2018

The Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police has suggested that UAVs may be used to surveil public events such as football finals and festivals for irregular behaviour.

Victoria Police has announced its counter-terrorism strategy for the next three years, with Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther suggesting that UAVs might be used to monitor crowd behaviour.

Whilst this technique is not referred to directly in the strategy document, Mr. Guenther made reference to a presentation from a drone provider on police applications of their technology, and emphasised the need to utilise the latest technology when announcing the new strategy.

The strategy would also require all serving officers to undertake a training course to identify individuals seen to be at risk of radicalisation.

Assistant Commissioner Guenther clarified his comments on drone use to ABC Radio Melbourne.

“Say you went to the Myer Music Bowl, for example, and you took a backpack with you to that,” he said.

“You drop the backpack down but then you just returned to the gate and left the property, that would be an irregular behaviour.

“If we had a drone in the area using that sort of functionality it would identify an out of normal behaviour and send that information back to police command post.

“The intention of it is to protect the community and it’s not that we’re using that technology 24 hours a day at all our meeting places, for example.”

ITWire points out that flying drones directly above people is illegal, to which a CASA spokesperson responded that an exemption may be issued if it coud be shown that the RPAS met or exceeded manned aircraft standards.

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