Drone generic
Pakistan’s capital city police will now be using drones to track suspects, expand the scope of police surveillance and ensure public safety. Photo for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Agency

Islamabad: Pakistan’s capital city police will now be using drones to track suspects, expand the scope of police surveillance and ensure public safety.

Inspector General (IG) of Islamabad Police Aamir Zulfiqar Khan launched the Air Patrol Unit equipped with eight drones to help curb street crimes and ensure the security of citizens. IG Islamabad said that capital police is now “adopting modern techniques for effective policing, to ensure the safety of the public” and catch criminals more effectively.

High-tech tools

Law enforcement agencies will now make full use of high-tech surveillance tools, said senior superintendent of police (SSP) Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Mustafa Tanveer. Drones would also be used for search and rescue operations. “Using Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) can dramatically reduce the time spent searching, and help police officers make appropriate use of resources, time and money.” Police departments around the world are increasingly turning to drones to fight crimes in different situations. Having an eye in the sky provides critical information to assist the ground units. Police officials said drones can also help crime scene investigation and can be used to collect evidence especially in difficult to reach areas.

Street watcher system

Islamabad Police has also introduced street watcher system to help enhance cooperation between police and public to effectively control crime. The street watchers would be deputed at streets and would keep a vigilant eye on security guards, domestic servants and any suspicious activity in different neighborhoods. They would remain in contact with each other and the police round the clock through a mobile app. Street patrol units comprising of 50 motorcyclists have been formed to conduct patrolling in various sectors and markets of Islamabad in peak timings.

Proactive policing urged

The citizens of Islamabad have welcomed the tech initiatives by the city police to bring down the crime rate but also urged for proactive policing. “It is encouraging to see Islamabad police use drones but technology is a means not an end. What matters most to citizens is safety and reduction in the rising crime rate. We want to feel safe walking in the neighborhood after dark” Usman Khalid, a resident of G-13, told Gulf News. Experts have also urged for proactive policing to prevent and reduce crime and improve relations between police officers and the communities.

Islamabad city’s Safe City Project was launched in 2016 to support law enforcement agencies with a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system and software such as facial recognition and vehicle management system. The project however has come under criticism after a July 2019 report indicated that at least 850 out of 1896 security cameras have been out of order.

Crime rising

A total of 99 incidents of crimes were reported in Islamabad in the month of September, according to police officials. These crimes included robberies, thefts, vehicle lifting and street crimes. Three incidents of rape, 12 murders and kidnapping were also reported. Between January 1 and August 30 this year, the police arrested 1,030 suspects in connection with 927 crime cases.