Police confirm spy drone purchase
Sun, 23 Dec 2012 6:02p.m.
By Michael Morrah
Police have confirmed to 3 News they have purchased a spy drone or unmanned aerial vehicle for use in criminal investigations.
They say at this stage the technology, used in war zones such as Gaza and Afghanistan, is only being trialled here.
Greg O’Connor of the Police Association says it is an innovative breakthrough for the force.
“It’s smarter, it’s cheaper, it’s more efficient,” he says. “Why wouldn’t police use it?”
Police initially refused to talk to 3 News about their potential use of drones, but more details were released after a complaint was submitted to the ombudsman.
It has now been revealed they have been working with Palmerston North company Hawkeye UAV Limited, which director Rolland Harrison says is running an international operation.
“We are operating now in countries as diverse as Mongolia, Turkey, South Africa, Canada and the United States,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of support from the Government.”
Surveillance drones were used extensively during the recent violence between Israel and Gaza, but Mr Harrison says its drones are only used for commercial activities.
“The technology could in theory be used for military use, but the companies that we are working with are aerial mapping companies and surveyors,” he says.
Police say the craft could provide high resolution images, infrared images for flying at night, and 3D images which can be manipulated to assist operational planning.
Already there are concerns about whether a law change might be necessary to use images and video as evidence in court.
Privacy campaigners are worried, but Mr O’Connor says innocent members of the public have nothing to fear.
“What these devices do is increase surveillance capability and at less risk to helicopter pilots,” he says. “It's just better technology.”
Police have already used drones twice during recent investigations, and will decide in the coming months whether the technology could be here to stay.
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25/03/2013 7:31:02 p.m.
v mortlock wrote:
the govt has already decided on more drones,just like smartmeters. you are to be under constant survielance,this is an international agenda.you don't want to say anything even a dead fish can go with the flow and we are heading for the control net.
2/01/2013 5:14:40 p.m.
Breach of Privacy wrote:
Nate...do you even follow the megaupload catastrophe?I for one, would like to be able to walk around in my backyard naked without having to worry about police watching me the whole time. How is our data stored, secured and used? Dont be so silly. If a drone gets hacked or breaks down anyone could see inside your private life.
29/12/2012 9:38:55 a.m.
Do they need a search warrant to conduct surveillance over private property with a drone?
If they fly a drone over your backyard - without actually touching the ground - and peer into your 16 year old daughters bedroom window, have they trespassed or broken any laws?
Considering the Police have been caught illegally spying on New Zealanders numerous times, the last thing we should be doing is making it easier for them. They have far too much power - coupled with a cavalier attitude towards following the law themselves - as it is.
We have an authoritarian Government resolutely engaged in a heinous attack on the liberties of a free & democratic society as they ride rough-shod over our justice system, granting outrageous powers to the state, police & judiciary whilst removing freedoms, rights & liberties from the people.
Under this Government we have seen the most disturbing and outrageous attack on our civil liberties in modern history. Removal of the right to silence; right to a jury trial restricted; removal of prisoners right to vote; restrictions to legal aid; property seizure without conviction; vast extensions to the search and surveillance powers of the state. And let's not forget the privatisation of prisons for corporate profit.
For years we have allowed TV shows such as Police 10-7 & Drug Bust, lobby groups such as Sensible Sentencing, a sensationalist media and bandwagon-jumping politicians to dominate the law & order debate, creating a false impression of violent crime lurking on every corner, whipping up the NZ bloodlust into a lynch-mob mentality.
What is going on here? Do we really want them to turn New Zealand into a fascist police state? Do we really want to become a corporate prison nation? This is not about protecting the people, this is about controlling the people.
28/12/2012 1:32:12 p.m.
Just what exactly did they use them for already? and if they manage to make it illegal to swap seeds do you think they will send in the spy drones to take pictures of the community seed and seedling swap too put those low life criminals behind bars? I hope so how dare these people swap seeds!!! dont they know they are undermining the corporate control of the supply of food in this country. These corporations have worked hard to control the profits from the food we eat "they worked very hard" and should have the full protection from the state never mind about individual freedom here people we need to protect profits and maintain power!!!!!!
27/12/2012 12:32:43 p.m.
I fly FPV RC drones, I am sort of ok with it all, as long as there are no restrictions brought to RC hobbyists flying responsibly.
26/12/2012 4:01:09 p.m.
Great idea! No one in NZ feels safe with the out of control crime and no protection as it is!
25/12/2012 12:12:37 p.m.
they better be careful they dont spy on themselves
25/12/2012 9:13:01 a.m.
mike smith wrote:
Great! So we know what the Police union think. What do those that actually run and manage the police think?
24/12/2012 3:24:42 p.m.
i agree with some of what wiseacre says the police and government have been breaking the law and should be held accountable like any one else thats not saying they have all been breaking the law and without the honest police what state would NZ be in i think we would be up sh#t creek without a paddle
24/12/2012 1:42:36 p.m.
Farmer Jack wrote:
Good on the police force ,buy as many as they like,another device to get the low life behind bars. The justice system should give them all the help and assistance they need.
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