13 May 2012

Victorian police assess use of drone aircraft

4:18 pm on 13 May 2012

Police in Victoria are investigating whether unmanned drone aircraft could be used in fighting crime.

Drones for local law enforcement will be allowed in the United States from Monday.

Victorian police say the technology is rapidly evolving and anything that can provide more effective and safer policing is worth assessing.

They did not provide any timeframe for a decision or details of what drones could be used for.

However, the ABC reports it is believed they could be used for surveillance and car chases.

But the idea has alarmed civil libertarians who say drones could be used to track individuals who may not have committed any crime.

Liberty Victoria president Spencer Zifcak says the group will write to Victoria police to express their concerns.

"They will be armed with technology that will enable them to identify individuals. So, for example, if the police wish to track a political demonstration, drones will not only be able to track where that demonstration is going but also to begin identifying the people who are members of that demonstration," he said.