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Form punishing rioters to common criminals, drones can play a vital role
There was once a time when it was illegal to own or use a wireless in India while today everyone has a cell phone. Similarly, archaic views about new technology are holding back modernisation of crime fighting techniques in the nation, says a senior police officer.

When a riot takes place it is almost impossible to identify the rioters who escape punishment but a drone could capture the riot from a distance and the footage could be used to trace the culprits, says a police officer.

The new era of technology and security in smart cities could be through the use of drone technology and the Uttar Pradesh Police is taking the lead in the matter says former UP Intelligence head Arun Kumar Gupta IPS.

According to Gupta drones can be used to provide security and video footage to an officer sitting in the control room and could also provide valuable evidence during a crime or riot like situation.

The use of drones today is however limited as the UP Police does not have the requisite funds for modernisation as the Central government wants the states to bear the brunt of modernisation costs. This is creating hurdles for expanding the use of drones in the police department.

During Muharram or Eid, the Uttar Pradesh Police uses drones to carry out surveillance in areas and examine roof tops in colonies where the religious processions are likely to pass through.

A police officer sitting in his control room can easily see if there are attempts being made to stockpile weapons and projectiles like bricks and bottles on a roof top anywhere. Drones can also be used to check roof top water tanks by the municipal corporations of cities to check the spread of diseases that spread due to poor water management like dengue and malaria. In case roof top water tanks are not covered they can be breeding grounds for the mosquitoes.

Anand Lal Bannerjee the former DGP of the Uttar Pradesh police adds that as of now there are no rules and regulations regarding the use of drones but there are other issues involved. Most of the drones used today are used to cover marriage functions and so on. The Uttar Pradesh Police does not have any drones of its own but take on hire or arranges through private photographers drones for surveillance.

Drones could be equipped with night vision cameras so that they can provide a back up to police patrol teams.

Four drones, adds Gupta, could be more effective than twenty four police vehicles on patrol as land locked vehicles have limited coverage of the area they are in.

There is also a big psychological impact to the use of drones and they will have a deterrent effect on criminals as they announce the fact that the area is under surveillance quite dramatically says Arun Gupta.

It however needs more centralised systems to monitor it and a system to link the drones in the air to a central police command as well as making it possible for this central command to identify any hostile drone put up in the air without permission. These are all software and hardware issues which the IITs of the nation should try and address today. They will however only do so if there is any incentive from the government. 

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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