SA police to use unmanned drones to spy on criminals



SOUTH Australian police will use sophisticated remote-controlled drones to spy on suspects as it takes the war on crime to new heights.

The stealthy miniature unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be equipped with still, video, and infra-red cameras.

SAPOL will open a tender process to purchase four “off the shelf” commercial quadcopters that could be used to spy on bikie fortresses, find drug crops, and to gather intelligence without putting officers at risk.

Civil libertarians have protested the use of such devices saying they effectively mount to ‘Big Brother in the sky’ and could be used to monitor law abiding citizens in situations such as political protests.

However, Police Minister Michael O’Brien said UAVs have become a recognised policing tool throughout the world.

“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.