In the past, Bengaluru police used Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to control and disperse mobs; the Indian Railways and police departments on a number of occasions have made use of drones to monitor law and order and to track the progress of pending projects, but the drones used were always rented from someone else. Last month Karnataka’s police department acquired twelve drones, making it the country’s first police force to have a UAV fleet, and as reported by the Times of India (TOI), this is only the first phase of such an acquisition.
In the programme partially funded by the regional commissioner of Kalaburagi, close to twenty police officers have been properly trained to exclusively handle and operate the drones. The twelve Phantom 4 UAVs were bought for Rs. 15 lakhs each from South Korea and are being used in six districts across the state. These UAV’s come equipped with night vision, high definition 18.2 megapixel cameras with technology that allows you to see up to five kilometres in distance, and the ability to reach a height of one kilometre and stay airborne for over 30 minutes.
“The 12 drones and trained operators will be distributed among the districts of Koppal, Yadgir, Ballari, Bidar, Raichur and Kalaburagi districts,” said Bhaskar Rao, additional DGP, crime and technical services. The drones are currently being used by the police to identify any illegal sand mining that may be taking place. “When they were deployed in operations against sand mining, we masked the illuminated parts with tape, and with its night vision capability, were able to observe their activity without being noticed,” stated Rao, as reported by TOI.
While earlier all drone activity was done with vehicles obtained from other sources, this left the police department’s unable to organise and use the resource in times of real need when the UAV’s weren’t in their possession. As stated by TOI, “One of the challenged in using UAV’s, especially in the northern parts of the state, is mobilizing drones and operators during contingencies.” So, having a fleet of our own will definitely ease this situation, though the problem which remains is the inability to use them in times of heavy rainfall.
Representational feature image via Daily Hunt
Words: Sara Hussain