Editorial: Drone valid police tool

18:14, Dec 26 2012

The police have just bought a drone, this being an unmanned flying machine with a warhead strapped underneath.

No wait, they're the American ones.

Our one has just a camera.

Boring.

But still the civil libertarians kick up. Really, you've got to wonder where John Minto and his Global Peace and Justice friends come from sometimes.

So if a family member were kidnapped, and a drone might be used in the search, they'd turn it down on principle? Yeah right.

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Sure, the police get it wrong sometimes - Te Urewera and Kim Dotcom spring to mind - but there are consequences when they do. We already have the counter-balances to abuse and search warrants before filming should be required here.

But every police district should have a drone.

They'd be useful looking for missing people, in car chases, in armed offenders callouts, as a deterrent in mob situations, and in checking to see how long the queue is at McDonald's.

Imagine a drone at the Jan Molenaar standoff in Napier three years ago, or Aromoana 22 years ago.

I have nothing against police using as much new technology as they can . . . because the crims are.

North Shore police are using Facebook to identify naughty people caught on camera. Excellent.

Again, every police district should have such a page.

Nationally, police have used Facebook to look for runaway teens, with great success.

With smartphones today everyone is a potential evidence gatherer, and police should be proactive in inviting photos, audio and video from members of the public.

Sure, it would have to be verified, but it could be a great starting point to investigations.

The frontline of policing could be undergoing a face change . . . to pimply faced people sitting in front of a computer screen.

Nothing wrong with that.

And there's a simple way to stop any of this becoming an issue.

Don't break the law.

The Timaru Herald