Drones may soon replace men in kakhi for surveillance operations


By J Santhosh – CHENNAI

Surveillance by the men in khaki could undergo a drastic change if the latest technology employed by the State police proves sustainable.

On Wednesday, police successfully deployed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle UAV (drone) to keep an enhanced vigil during the Immanuel Sekaran memorial day celebrations at Paramakudi in  tension-prone Ramanathapuram district.

The fact that the sensitive event in a region known for caste violence passed off peacefully, has come as a boost for the police in looking forward to procure a UAV, which could prove to be a handy tool for a range of activities.

Police officials said UAVs could be utilised for crowd management and to monitor movement of anti-social elements.

“The most crucial element in managing a sensitive event is the knowledge of the ground-level situation. There could be a possibility of miscommunication if senior police officials are entirely dependent on inputs of Intelligence personnel. In such a scenario, drones offer a real feel of the ground to those sitting at the control room,” said a senior police official.

While the police have already installed CCTV cameras in several towns, the critical advantage of the drones is their portability and deployment even in remote areas like forests.

The police already used drones during a temple festival in Tiruvannamalai last year for crowd management. “It was very handy then as we were able to accurately judge the crowd movement and make arrangements accordingly,” said an official, who was involved in the deployment of UAV then.

Besides surveillance, police officers reveal that UAVs could also be employed to keep track of the activities of anti-social elements like smugglers. “If we make it fly above a certain height, it will be very difficult for people to notice it. Since the cameras used are of high resolution, they could record even minute details of persons and help prevent activities like smuggling,” the official said.