When he gets back on Australian soil, Queensland police officer Sgt. Peter Blake will be holding up the Saskatchewan RCMP as a shining example of the best way to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in police work.
And he’s hoping his bosses will agree the Canadian approach will work just as well in his home state.
Blake is about to wrap up a 12-day stint in Saskatchewan as part of a worldwide Winston Churchill Fellowship study on the use of UAVs in policing.
His travels have also taken him to the UK and Germany, but he says he “learned more in the first 20 minutes” with the RCMP than in the previous month in Europe.
“These guys have been my No. 1 stop, because they lead the world in the way they use UAVs in policing,” he told the Leader-Post inside F Division RCMP headquarters on Thursday.
It’s not just how the RCMP use UAVs, he says, but how open the force is with the public, particularly compared to the rest of the world.
“A lot of police forces around the world have these things, but … why they don’t share that information with the public, I don’t know,” he said.
“The idea of this technology is very much a concern with the public, but that’s the best part of what they do here. They specifically say, ‘This is how we’re using it.'” Staff Sgt. Dave Domoney, who heads up the Saskatchewan RCMP’s UAV program, said that openness with the public has been an integral part of the program since it was piloted in 2010.
In Saskatchewan, UAVs are primarily used for taking photos of collisions and major crime scenes, as well as in search and rescue.