Police forces across England and Wales have made plans to deploy surveillance cameras mounted on drones. Civil liberties concerns are mounting after it emerged that police forces were seeking information about drone-mounted cameras capable of filming high-quality live footage from 1,500ft away.
The Home Office stated that the use of drone-mounted cameras could allow 46 police forces in England and Wales to reduce the noise and carbon emissions created by helicopters carrying out surveillance during operations.
‘Parliament should scrutinise use of technology’
Shami Chakrabarti, the former Head of the civil rights advocacy group Liberty, has tabled an amendment to the Police Bill that would require the Home Secretary to approve the use of new ‘weapons, surveillance equipment or investigatory technology’.
Former Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Hain has backed the amendment, commenting that Parliament should scrutinise the use of such technology, rather than leaving it as ‘a matter for exclusive police discretion’. He also raised concerns about the role of private companies supplying the technology, warning that high-powered drones could be used to target protesters.