Editorial: Drone valid police tool
Should the police be able to use drones?
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.
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.
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