Police Drones Take Flight Over Central Asia

900px-Flag_of_Pakistan.svgPolice agencies in Central Asia are using more drones to fight drug trafficking, riots and roving gangs of thugs.

In Pakistan, law-enforcement agencies report an upswing in drone deployment across municipal and provincial police departments. Officers use the aircraft to monitor large gatherings in an effort to quell potential riots and to track “terrorists and armed bandits in urban areas,” according to the Pakistani Business Recorder.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police recently added eight DJI Phantom-4 drones to its arsenal and the capital of Islamabad is currently trialing an unspecified number of UAV models.

“It gave a significant help to the police and now police would use drone cameras, which we have in the Islamabad Safe City Project, for monitoring of different events like protest rallies and other gatherings in the federal capital,” an unnamed police official stated.

Not to be outdone by its neighbors, the Punjab provincial police purchased 50 drones while police in Sindh acquired six.

In India, police in the Malda District plan to use drones to identify opium production sites as poppy season blooms. Police have a difficult time cracking down on illegal poppy production because local villagers refuse to identify likely growth areas. Also, growers often mix poppy plants with corn and sugarcane, making identification from the ground difficult.

“If we get aerial picture of the areas it will be very easy for us to locate the poppy cultivation zones,” a Malda police official told the Hindustan Times.

Another official said that only 10 people had so far been arrested in poppy stings this year. Police officials believe the heroin trade stemming from illegal production of the flower may fund terror groups.

1280px-Flag_of_India.svgIndian police are no strangers to drone technology. In Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), police use drones to patrol polling places during hotly contested elections. In 2015, violent uprisings emerged at various polling stations across the city.

In January, Delhi Police piloted a squadron of drones to monitor temples and expressways through Republic Day (Jan. 26), the nation’s annual commemoration of the enactment of its constitution.

The police forced ordered Netra quadcopters from India’s defense ministry to secure the various sites. Incidentally, the Netra is homegrown — manufactured in partnership with Indian drone firm ideaForge.

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