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Saturday, 23 January 2010

Police plan to use military style drones


The FITwatch blog has previously reported on the use of chopper drones by police, to carry cameras above the heads of demonstrators. But it seems these are no longer enough for our surveillance obsessed forces - they now want military style unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to keep an eye on us all.
The Herti (pictured) is a pilotless aircraft developed by the arms manufacturer BAE systems. According to BAE it is a "highly adaptable, fully autonomous, platform-based solution providing robust, cost-effective surveillance and reconnaissance capability to support a range of military and civil requirements.”
In a recent article the Guardian has claimed that BAE have drawn up with various police forces and agencies a list of potential ‘civil requirements’ including “road and railway monitoring, search and rescue, event security and covert urban surveillance.” They'd like to have the unmanned planes in use in policing operations within the next five years.
The Guardian does not give a figure for the price of this crucial piece of kit, although it surely won't come cheap. Tax payers need not worry though - apparently the police can offset running costs by hiring it out to corporate business during 'down time'. Well, that's alright then...

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