on air now

Victoria Police takes to the skies with first drone unit

3aw news

Drones will be rolled out by Victoria Police for the first time next month.

Inspector Craig Shepherd said a new drone unit, which may have up to 50 drones, will support existing police operations.

“Part of it is to support day-to-day policing,” he told 3AW’s Kate and Quarters.

“Things like attending crime scenes, serious or fatal collisions, managing emergencies whether it be floods, fire or other emergencies, and public order.”

All sworn police officers will complete a one week remote pilot licence course, followed by extensive training in police specific drone operations.

However, the drones won’t necessarily have an obvious presence in public.

“A drone doesn’t need to fly over persons, it can operate in a secure, controlled 50 metre square for example, and the cameras can be moved around like all normal camera systems,” Mr Shepherd said.

“They’re certainly highly capable devices.”

But Liberty Victoria has its concerns.

Jessie Taylor said while drones had the capability to be “really, really useful” for emergency services, there needed to be thorough laws and regulations to protect citizens from having their privacy and human rights invaded.

“It really does provide opportunity for a real expansion of police powers without a commensurate level of regulation and accountability,” she told 3AW Mornings.

“Those are the kinds of things that provide us with concern.”

Click PLAY below to hear more on 3AW Mornings

3aw news