The UK police force has received the green light to begin the implementation of drones into its priority operations such as a home siege, burglary, and even peaceful protests. This all according to new national guidelines regulating the use of drones by police. At least a quarter of all police departments in England and Wales plan on deploying them, much to the dismay of privacy advocates and activists.
A spokesperson for the National police chief states,
“Some police forces in the U.K. are looking into the use of drones to see if they are an effective and less costly alternative to traditional policing methods such as aerial and foot patrols or CCTV. Trials are ongoing and the police service is developing national guidance for the use of drones.”
While the government always claims that everything it’s doing is honest, legal, and for the people, one must wonder if this is just another encroachment of power by the government and the powers that control it. Is allowing police to monitor the public with drones really going to make communities safer or is the infringement of a citizen’s privacy and the overreach of the police state more of a danger than any potential benefit gained?
It’s interesting to query as to how this will affect protests. One has to wonder whether citizens will also be able to fly drones in public airspace during protests in the hopes of documenting what transpires. Are the police going to be very happy when they’re not the only ones able to film what going on? There is also the added concern that this is setting a precedent for the furthering of even more overstepping drone technology such as drones armed with bean bags, meant to break apart protests. History would tell us that granting this power only leaves the people more susceptible to further concessions down the road.
Currently in the U.S., debate over the use of domestic drones by the police is a hot button topic that is highly contested. Drones are currently being deployed in a small, but growing number of state and local law enforcement operations. It’s been revealed that the U.S. customs and Border Protection has flown hundreds of domestic drone missions on behalf of other agencies, including several state and local public safety agencies. Some towns, such as Mesa County, CO have already started implementing them, allowing the police to operate them almost anywhere within the county’s 3,300 square miles. According to program director Ben Miller,
“We can fly them pretty much anywhere we want.”
These are fundamental questions and realities that people need to comprehend and start thinking about, as drones are a very real part of the 21st century and only becoming more prevalent. It really comes down to the notion of freedom vs. security and how those two ideas interconnect. It’s the authors opinion that too many today are far too willing to give up freedom out of manufactured fear in the hopes of an increased level of security. As Ben Franklin brilliantly stated,
“Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Security, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Shout out to DAHBOO7 for the coverage in the video below.
Sources:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/mesa-county-colo-a-nation_n_3399876.html, http://www.ibtimes.com/uk-police-may-use-drones-monitor-protests-siege-operations-2250287, http://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/drones-state-local-law-enforcement-agencies-license-list.html