Delhi Police will procure its own custom-built unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from private vendors, sources said. Tenders will be floated for procurement after the Commissioner’s approval. The use of drones by the police has raised concerns over invasion of privacy from various quarters.
The Delhi Police will now acquire its own custom-built unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from commercial suppliers after hiring drones to maintain peace and order and identify suspects in riot-hit regions since 2014.
“So far, we’ve rented drones from wedding planners or private companies.” Based on the needs, it was determined to purchase drones with specific features such as night-vision cameras and faster backup, among others. “Tenders for procurement would be published with the Commissioner’s clearance,” a senior police official informed The Hindu. He also stated that in the past, DCPs from various districts were permitted to hire drones from private vendors based on their needs.
“Previously, we would hire a drone for a certain fee on an assignment basis and then return it.” “We have chosen to acquire our own drones,” the officer stated, adding that all district-level cops will be trained to utilise them. Drones were first employed by the police during the Trilokpuri riots in 2014, and they have since been utilised on multiple instances, including the 2019 anti-CAA demonstrations, the north-east Delhi riots in 2020, and the Jahangirpuri unrest this year.
“It was also often utilised to impose Covid-mandated limitations,” an officer explained. According to Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order, Zone 1) Dependra Pathak, while CCTVs may be manipulated, a drone hovering above the scene of an event “deters the individual from committing the act.” “CCTVs may be damaged or covered with a cloth, however a drone delivers a bird’s eye view with no room for manipulation.” “Drone footage in the form of electronic evidence gives a greater view of the crime scene,” he explained. However, the use of drones by authorities has sparked worries about invasion of privacy from a variety of sources.
According to Anushka Jain, Policy Counsel at the Internet Freedom Foundation, the usage of drones in the absence of a specified standard operating protocol has heightened safety concerns. “Footage may be viewed by private vendors and even altered by law enforcement for their own purposes,” she explained. The police, on the other hand, asserted that they follow all procedures.
During tactical operations, police agencies are also utilising drones to create aerial mapping, record aerial photos, collect evidence, and gather other mission important data to help in post-incident crime scene investigation and reconstruction.
0 official drones are used by Delhi police.
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