Sydney: Police in the Australian state of Victoria are planning to introduce unmanned drone aircraft to assist in operations, following the lead of American authorities who will soon begin using them for surveillance, searches and car chases.
Victoria Police has confirmed it is assessing so-called unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for ‘potential operational use’.
But in a written response to questions from The Sunday Age, a Victoria Police spokeswoman did not reveal what kind of operations, or how far police plans had advanced.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, it is the most explicit statement so far on Victoria Police's interest in acquiring high-tech, remote-controlled drones that can be fitted with high-definition cameras and sensors - and, in some larger versions, weapons.
Other agencies, including Queensland police and arms of the Australian Federal Police, are also interested in acquiring drones, the paper said.
Meanwhile, the move has alarmed civil liberties advocates, who claim the technology could be used to spy on individuals.
Liberty Victoria president Spencer Zifcak warned that strict controls must be in place before any decision was made.
I would be profoundly concerned about the unregulated use of this technology, by which I mean use without clear rules and regulations about the circumstances in which it can be used,” the paper quoted Zifcak, as saying.
First Published: Sunday, May 13, 2012, 14:12