Orwell Rolls in Grave as Police Roll Out Unprecedented Drone Air Force to “Track Anti-Social Behaviour”

By Annabelle Bamforth

The Devon and Cornwall police force, tasked with the patrol of the largest geographical area in England, are pioneering perpetual drone surveillance by establishing an unprecedented 24-hour drone surveillance of its patrol area set to begin this summer.

The police drones, also identified as “unmanned aerial systems,” have undergone smaller tests last year. Multiple reports state that the drones will mostly be used for locating crime suspects and missing persons as well as surveillance of crime scenes.

Steve Barry, the UK’s National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman regarding police drones, touted the cost savings of choosing these devices rather than deploying police helicopters; according to a report from The Daily Mail, Barry predicts “forces across Britain would soon be using them as they are cheaper than helicopters and can perform some duties of bobbies on the beat.” The does not specify how deeply these police drones will be able to inspect individuals, including in regards to audio capacity.

The Mail noted that Barry has pondered the possibility of drones replacing some officers and said “there may be an opportunity at some point in the future to rationalise what we need our cops to do because we find drones can do it more effectively and more cost-efficiently.” However, Barry did not indicate that he approves of a reduced police force in favor of the devices, and other officers and experts were quoted in the report as viewing drones as a supplement for police rather than their replacement.

Drones indeed have a unique ability to scope areas that officers cannot approach on foot.  A report published by the Cato Institute acknowledged that drones “allow police to investigate dangerous situations such as bomb threats and toxic spills.” These devices can seen as an advantage for civilians in peril, but they also serve as a troubling mechanism of undermining the personal privacy of a large population.

The Daily Mail highlighted how drones are useful for aerial footage of crime scenes, but also pointed to their use in monitoring “protests, sieges and football matches,” and noted that they “have been tested for use in terror attacks and to track anti-social behavior.”

The use of drones as a law enforcement tool has been taking place for years. Since the beginning, civil liberties advocates have warned of the consequences that heightened, innovative surveillance can unleash on the populace. Drones “deployed without proper regulation, drones equipped with facial recognition software, infrared technology, and speakers capable of monitoring personal conversations would cause unprecedented invasions of our privacy rights.

Interconnected drones could enable mass tracking of vehi­cles and people in wide areas. Tiny drones could go completely unnoticed while peering into the window of a home or place of worship,” the ACLU advises. While the 24-hour drone surveillance initiative is based in one large area of England and has yet to be introduced publicly in the United States, Cato cautions that the courts have yet to tackle drones and their capability to obstruct our Fourth Amendment.

The Devon and Cornwall police are currently recruiting a “drone manager” to oversee this new program. The law enforcement agency is also expressing confidence that this program will motivate police across the country to follow their lead. “‘I would not be at all surprised if other forces follow in due course – the question is not whether they will, it’s when,” Barry said.

Annabelle Bamforth writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

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15 Comments on "Orwell Rolls in Grave as Police Roll Out Unprecedented Drone Air Force to “Track Anti-Social Behaviour”"

  1. US Congressional Fourth Amendment Caucus, tasked with protecting our civil liberties.
    “The members lead efforts in the House of Representatives to protect against warrantless searches and seizures, close privacy-violating surveillance loopholes, and champion reform efforts to protect and restore Fourth Amendment rights.”


    Members list …(feet to the fire!)
    Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
    Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
    Dan Kildee (D-MI)
    David Schweikert (R-AZ)
    Hank Johnson (D-GA)
    Jared Polis (D-CO)
    Jim Jordan (R-OH)
    John Lewis (D-GA)
    Justin Amash (R-MI)
    Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
    Michael Capuano (D-MA)
    Mo Brooks (R-AL)
    Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
    Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
    Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
    Scott Perry (R-PA)
    Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
    Ted Lieu (D-CA)
    Tom Massie (R-Ky.)
    Tom McClintock (R-CA)
    Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
    Walter Jones (R-NC)

    • DeFazio was the guy who was on a serious committee and went to Fort Knox to see our gold supply and they wouldn’t let him in.

      Tulsi Gabbard is the only reason to consider being a demo. Great potential.

      • AFAIK, DeFazio was the only person in congress making a big deal out of the selling off of American infrastructure (primarily to foreign interests) through so-called public-private-partnerships (their mantra: “privatize the profits, socialize the losses”). He also wasn’t keen on the globalist open borders agenda, amazing for a Dem politico. Plus, he voiced concerns over C.O.G. using executive privilege to hide what they were doing and DeFazio had the highest security clearance given to congressional reps yet he was stonewalled. This was more than 10 years ago when I was in OR and more aware of what he was doing. If only the rest were like him. I also like Justin Amash – what I know of him, anyway. Larry MacDonald had some mighty big ‘cojones’ and he was a Dem.
        ….Just goes to show it doesn’t matter what ‘party’ pols belong to, what matters is if they’re honest, courageous, and loyal to the American people. Party politics is the perfect dumbing down of governance. Little wonder we end up with mixed marriages: Kerry & Heinz, Schwarzenegger & Shriver, and Matalin & Carville (yuck!).

        • Excellant update for me, thanks. Might want to check out the crap BoyScout is doing on most of today’s articles towards “Eddysachs and company.” ?

          • Always a pleasure and privilege, Joe. 😉
            Regarding the other, I saw some of it on 3 articles and called him out for rude behavior which, of course, gave him another target (me, lol). He’s digging his own metaphorical grave.

          • Doesn’t know how many of us can flag him for being inappropriate.

          • I’ve found squashing abusive behavior can be accomplished with a group effort in a 3-pronged approach: call out or chastise the person in direct replies, consistent down voting, and general shunning. If we keep at it he or she typically corrects their behavior or moves on.

          • Aye aye Captain ?

          • Check out my profile. I knocked a couple of nice ones out to Eddy. ?

  2. May be that way in the UK but out here we see them as target practice. ?

  3. “…oh, but I was flying my RC helicopter, and it accidentally collided with your drone,…”

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