Drones are now being used by the Indian police to track Maoist movements, red sander smugglers, weed cultivation and movements of anti-social elements during jataras, dharnas, and rallies. “We are using drones to check the movements of Maoists in thick forests. Drones were given to almost all Left Wing Extremism (LWE) police stations in the State,” a senior police officer said.

Furthermore, the forest officials are dependent on drones to track red sanders smugglers. Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are also being deployed by the police during annual religious events and political programs to keep a vigil on the movements of trouble-mongers.

“Drones are helping Greyhounds and anti-naxal squads to track the movements of the dalams in the forests and are guiding the police parties in taking up combing operations,” a senior police officer told The Hindu. Apart from the police, Parliamentary forces are also using drones to check infiltration of terrorists along the borders. Moreover, UAVs are being used to conduct route checking and maintaining vigil at the venues during VIP visits.

Modern E-Policing Tools

“Drones have become a part of e-policing, particularly to check the movements of Maoists, smugglers, and terrorists. Training is being given to police personnel, including new recruits in the department, in operating drones,” an IPS officer said.

Indian Police using drones
Drones have helped locate illegal liquor hubs in 2017.
Image source: The Indian Express

“UAVs were operated during Godavari and Krishna Pushkarams, VVIP programs, Vinayaka Chaviti, Dasara Utsavams, and floods. In the wake of terrorist threats, we are monitoring the situation in coastal areas via drones,” an intelligence official said.

Top police officials discussed ways to track the movements of Maoists by using drones, during the border-police coordination meetings with Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Telangana States. There have been talks on a draft policy for operating drones in a meeting held at Hyderabad. The Government has issued directions to all Police Commissioners and Superintendents of Police in the State to monitor the operation of drones as anti-social elements can use the drones to create law and order issues. Moreover, drones are increasingly finding their place in the Indian Police department. The 2019 elections were monitored using drones. Security officials are also rapidly expanding their anti-drone arsenal.