NZ: Police use drones to catch criminals

Merseyside Police Microdrone

Detectives have used an aerial drone in a criminal investigation leading to charges being laid and a person before the courts.

Police headquarters is refusing to say what type of inquiry it was or how the drone was used other than to describe the alleged offending as “criminal”.

The case was one of two uses of drones by police last year which has led to the purchase of a helicopter-style drone to see how it would best fit with police work.

The emergence of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle into law enforcement territory marks an advance on the controversial technology from conservation and mapping uses.

It also follows the revelation the air force’s secret surveillance and electronic warfare plane is being used by police for tracking and monitoring offenders.

Writer and former press secretary David Beatson discovered the developing police interest through an Official Information Act request which showed the officers had already used drones on two occasions.