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Fidelity deploys surveillance drones in Johannesburg suburb

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Private security firm Fidelity Services Group is pioneering the use of drones to guard residential estates in the greater Fourways in Johannesburg North.

The company says drone deployment will increase proactive crime prevention and the ability to plan crime prevention operations, as well as facilitate a more rapid response to live criminal incidents and scenes.

Fidelity’s new offering is being implemented in partnership with the UDS Group, a certified drone operations company, and will be trialled in the greater Fourways area for two months and then extended to other suburbs, estates and shopping centres.

The service consists of a mobile command centre with a qualified drone pilot and a fully-equipped state-of-the-art drone. Fidelity says it has already successfully used drones in the commercial space to secure infrastructure like pipelines and cables.

“We believe drones and the deployment of a mobile drone team will not only act as a highly effective visible deterrent to criminals, but also assist to immediately track down and locate criminal elements once an outer perimeter on an estate has been breached, or in any scenario where suspects are at large on a security estate,” says Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group.

“The command centre is linked to a tactical response unit for both reactive and proactive purposes. Customers contact a call centre to activate the drone response, and on sites where Fidelity ADT already provides guarding, the drone response will be worked into the incident escalation procedure.”

Bartmann says the company will work hand-in-hand with the Vumacam suburb surveillance system and in strict accordance with all privacy and aviation restrictions and laws.

“Drones need to be licensed and flight details have to be approved to fly in certain areas,” explains Bartmann. Drone operations can also only be conducted with the permission of the landowner and/or other designated person able to provide such authority.

“We are very excited about the introduction of drone technology in the residential space as an added means to tighten the net for criminals and add an additional layer of security. Its success has already been proven in remote areas and we have no doubt we will have similar success in specified residential areas.”

Increasingly, drones are being used in other parts of the country to help with security issues, including fighting rhino poaching in SA.

In Cape Town, due to the spate of violent attacks on tourists on Table Mountain, the Department of Tourism announced plans to deploy drones, as well as install cameras to ensure the safety of those visiting the tourist site.

These drones, according to minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, are similar to those used in anti-rhino-poaching efforts at South African National Parks sites.

According to a DefenceWeb report, representatives from the South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police Department stated that unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) will be used in the future for law enforcement, public safety and disaster management.

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