Southern Australian Police (SAPOL) have invested in multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with infrared cameras to patrol the skies and spy on suspected criminals. Four “off the shelf” quadcopters are already in the process of being purchased — small copters with mounted cameras.
Although civil groups have fervently complained about unmanned surveillance units, Police Minister Michael O’Brien has dispelled concerns
“UAVs represent a cost effective solution for a range of policing operations, especially in situations when using conventional aircraft is too dangerous or costly,” he said. ”They can be fitted with a variety of cameras, can be deployed in minutes, and can fly at heights that effectively make them inaudible from the ground.
The cost of UAVs (and associated training costs) have been estimated at approximately $200,000. O’Brien has dismissed claims from the Australian Council of Civil Liberties regarding the controversial privacy issues.
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