Drone tech­nol­ogy for po­lice use de­layed

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

DE­SPITE AN al­lo­ca­tion of $55 mil­lion in the bud­get of the Min­istry of Na­tional Se­cu­rity to ac­quire drone tech­nol­ogy to aid in the fight against es­ca­lat­ing crime and vi­o­lence in Ja­maica, it ap­pears that local law en­force­ment might have to wait for a while longer be­fore get­ting the green light to use the high-tech de­vices.

Diane McIntosh, per­ma­nent sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Na­tional Se­cu­rity, told Par­lia­ment’s Public Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee (PAAC) on Wed­nes­day that the min­istry would not spend the $55 mil­lion that was al­lo­cated this year to ac­quire drone tech­nol­ogy.

She noted that $30 mil­lion of the amount al­lo­cated would be spent by the end of the fi­nan­cial year.

Giv­ing de­tails, L. Garth Soares, project man­ager at the min­istry, ex­plained that the frame­work needed to fa­cil­i­tate the use of drones by the se­cu­rity forces was just now emerg­ing in Ja­maica.

“In dis­cus­sion with the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (CAA), they are still try­ing to de­velop pol­icy and reg­u­la­tion that govern these un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles. They are still try­ing to de­velop the reg­u­la­tions to govern how these air­craft are used,” he told mem­bers of the PAAC.

“We are now join­ing the wider com­mu­nity to use these air­craft for public safety and for lawen­force­ment ac­tiv­i­ties,” he added.

NEED TO USE TECH­NOL­OGY

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Phillip Paulwell ar­gued that crime and vi­o­lence in Ja­maica could not be solved by hu­man ef­fort alone, but re­quired the full em­brace of tech­nol­ogy to suc­cess­fully dent the prob­lem.

In a Gleaner ar­ti­cle ear­lier this year, the CAA is­sued guide­lines of flight-safety no­ti­fi­ca­tion, which pro­vided de­tails of the pa­ram­e­ters re­quired by per­sons who op­er­ate un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles or drones.

Un­der the cur­rent ar­range­ment, drone op­er­a­tors are re­quired to ap­ply for spe­cial aerial work per­mits from the CAA on the ba­sis that they meet spe­cific stan­dards.

MCINTOSH

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