The state government also says it now has 20 CASA-certified pilots operating the unmanned craft with another five ready to train. The reinforcements come due to a AUD400,000 investment in the technology by the state government. The new drones are specifically designed to have increased flight times, remote area capability, 3D modelling and the ability to drop objects.
Acting Assistant Commissioner, Robert Blackwood, comments the drones are particularly useful in chasing down vehicles. “The drone is a really useful tool to follow that vehicle without the police required to be in close proximity. We can then see where the vehicle goes and send police to that location and apprehend the offender at a safe time.” He continues, “The drones also assist in going to locations that are difficult to attend on foot. This saves a lot of manpower hours.”
During the last year, Tasmania employed drones in 227 operations to support police investigations. The craft are also deployed by such departments as Road and Public Order Services, Forensic Services, Search and Rescue and Marine, as well as specialist and tactical units.
Blackwood continues, “The larger drones can drop items at scenes, including a mobile telephone, transporting rope, as well as food and water and first aid equipment. It can even take an inflatable life vest if someone is in a water situation.” And adds, “When a road would normally be closed for hours we can deploy a drone, get 3D modelling and imaging of the scene and reopen the road quicker.”
In June, the New South Wales (NSW) Police used drones to keep watch on the NSW–Victoria border after it was closed due to the Coronavirus lockdown in Melbourne. These draconian methods produced around the clock aerial surveillance, where anyone found crossing the border was subject to an AUD11,000 fine and potentially up to 6 months in prison.
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