SAPS to deploy drones across SA to fight crime
The South African Police Service (SAPS) is looking to make use of drones across the country to fight crime.
This is according to police minister Bheki Cele, responding to a parliamentary question by the Freedom Front Plus on whether the SAPS has purchased any drones to be used specifically for rural security.
In his written response, Cele says SAPS is in the process of purchasing drones to be used as part of policing, including in rural areas, as per the implementation requirements of the Rural Safety Strategy.
“The SAPS is in the process of acquiring 166 drones, in three phases, for use in various policing environments,” the minister says.
“The current proposed model for drone deployment in three phases will include 43 localities, which are specialised units – the Provincial Operational Command Centres, the District Operational Command Centres and Safer City Projects – with satellite drone units serving various police stations. The Rural Safety Committees at police station and district levels will include the utilisation of drones in their rural safety plans.
Last year, SAPS collaborated with unmanned aerial surveillance firm Drone Guards and crime-fighting initiative, the Forum of Integrated Risk Management, to work on a proof-of concept project that seeks to deploy drones to help combat crime in the City of Johannesburg.
The new project, currently in testing phase, seeks to increase proactive crime prevention and crime-solving by using surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles to provide all-round patrolling of the city and facilitate a more rapid response during emergency situations.
Private security firms such as Fidelity Services Group are also making use of drones to guard residential estates in the greater Fourways in Johannesburg North.
With Cele’s announcement, this will be the first time drone technology will be deployed across the country to combat crime.