Policy-makers and police leaders have expressed substantial support for drone technology in policing across England and Wales. Operational opportunities presented by drones include surveillance and relative cost-effectiveness. For forces pressured by increasingly limited resources drones signal a new mode of contemporary policing that enhances capabilities and exploits emerging and dynamic trends in technological innovation.
My research anticipates the need to engage with legitimate concerns regarding their uses and users. Issues such as police militarisation and effective governance present significant challenges in urgent need of address.
Two research aims emerge:
- In light of concerns regarding possible consequences of drone technology, this project will identify which police forces are actually using drone technology in operational and strategic policing, how they are using it, and what issues they may be encountering through its use.
- Following from the initial audit of the extent of drone technology adoption, case studies will be selected of early adopters for more comprehensive inquiry into both intended and unintended consequences of drone use.
My current MSc Social Science Research Methods research focusses on the use of Freedom of Information Act requests to investigate public authorities’ drone strategies at local and national levels.