Police Are Setting Up and Training A Drone Unit To Prevent Crimes And Control Rallies

"I always feel like somebody's watching me..."

Cover image via SAYS

Police will see a new chapter in crime prevention and crowd control when a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones are deployed in the near future around Malaysia

Image via Reaction Gifs

They'll even know who threw that piece of rubbish on the floor!

Speaking to reporters on 13 August, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the drones which are equipped with closed-circuit cameras and face recognition software will be used for patrolling crime hotspots and to monitor street demonstrations

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar

Image via Greater Malaysia

Each drone will be equipped with a camera interface capable of live-streaming videos back to the police base. Khalid said that the plan is also to equip the drones with “biometric” scanners that will enable them to immediately identify those recorded on camera.

We will start using it for managing rallies, to record the activities of those who are involved in rallies. This feature can also be installed in public and traffic close circuit cameras and we can trace the crooks we seek with it," he said.

He added that the drones will also be used to patrol neighbourhoods and housing areas.

A special Drone unit under the PDRM Air Unit has also been set up to facilitate surveillance and man the drones

What the drone unit could look like...

Image via Parrot Blog

"Currently, our officers are undergoing training to operate the machine, while standard operating procedures for the technology utilisation are being worked on," Khalid explained.

The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be making an appearance tentatively by the end of this year once matters regarding it's licensing are finalised

Image via TPS

“We will start with maybe three or four small drones because it is not so costly; it will be deployed in Klang Valley first before year-end,” Khalid told reporters.

When asked if usage of the drones would bring about issues regarding privacy intrusion, this is what he had to say:

How are we going to protect our privacy then?

Image via DroneWatch

Would that bring about privacy intrusion? Well, that is why we will do a lot of training first. We have to licence it, look into laws, preventive standard operational procedures for that,” he said, adding that they are currently in the process of preparing these.

Khalid was also asked if the drones will used during the planned Bersih 4.0 rally on 29 Aug in which he quipped, "Maybe"

Image via DroneGirl

Malaysia is not the first country to utilise "spy-cams" on its citizens. In fact, countries such as India, UK and America are already using drones to survey their people.

Drone deployed in the streets of India

Image via CNN

On 7 May, police in India put aside their batons in favor of an overhead solution to angry and unruly crowds: pepper-spraying drones. It has been used by the Lucknow police whenever there are violent protests or mob attacks.

Aren't we lucky there aren't going to be any pepper sprays on out drones!

In the US on the other hand, drones have been so widely used in curbing crimes and in searh-and-rescue missions that even private actors are also seeking to use the technology for personal and commercial use.

Apart from security surveillance, drones can also be used to deliver pizza. Check out how this Bombay pizza chain has put a twist on pizza deliveries:

Or even how drones are being used to save flood victims:

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