It’s reminiscent of the Sci-Fi series “Dark Angel” where flying surveillance cameras kept tabs on the down trodden population of a dark future in a big city. Well, it’s here now in Merseyside. Read on – Jorge
The UK’s first police “spy drone” took to the skies today.
The remote control helicopter, fitted with CCTV cameras, will be used by officers in Merseyside to track criminals and record anti-social behaviour.
The drone is only a metre wide, weighs less than a bag of sugar, and can record images from a height of 500m.
It was originally used for military reconnaissance but is now being trialled by a mainstream police force.
The spy plane was launched as a senior police officer warned the surveillance society in the UK is eroding civil liberties.
Ian Readhead, deputy chief constable of Hampshire Police, said Britain could face an Orwellian situation with cameras on every street corner. However, senior officers in Merseyside, who are trialling the drone, said they did not believe it was the next phase in creating a Big Brother society.
Assistant chief constable Simon Byrne said: “People clamour for the feeling of safety which cameras give.
“Obviously there is a point of view that has been expressed but our feedback from the public is anything we can do to fight crime is a good thing.
“There are safeguards in place legally covering the use of CCTV and the higher the level of intrusion, the higher the level of authority needed within the police force to use it. So there is that balance there.”
Police said the drone is expected to be operational by June and will be given a three-month trial.