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Armed Robot Drones To Join UK Police Force

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-have-30-seconds-to-comply dept.

Robotics 311

Lanxon writes "British criminals should soon prepare to be shot at from unmanned airborne police robots. Last month it was revealed that modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from British protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers. But these drones could be armed with tasers, non-lethal projectiles and ultra-powerful disorienting strobe lighting apparatus, reports Wired. The flying robot fleet will range from miniature tactical craft such as the miniature AirRobot being tested by one police force, to BAE System's new 12m-wide armed HERTI drone as flown in Afghanistan."

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This issue concerns YRO (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096758)

Your Rights Offline

or (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096826)

Your Rights On roads

I wonder if the robot is a cousin of that one... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096772)

I wonder if the robot is a cousin of that one...

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/09/07/28/2012218/Londons-Robotic-Fire-Brigade [slashdot.org]

The one in the TFA seems to have tracks instead of wheels but they seem similar. Same company building them maybe ?

Re:I wonder if the robot is a cousin of that one.. (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096822)

Hehe, ignore parent post, picture is misleading. It seems TFA and the summary is talking about flying robots, hehe ;-))

Re:I wonder if the robot is a cousin of that one.. (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097112)

I think that is acutally a depiction of the iRobot Warrior. Same company that makes roombas.

Obligatory 1984 Reference (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31096774)

I'll be the first to say it: 1984 and V for Vendetta. I am come on, flying, armed, police drones?

Of course it's Britain.

Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31096932)

Some of you may be prejudiced against blacks, but we need their ability to start riots to prevent police-state encroachment. Their testiculat fortitude will inspire generations to come. Do you think anybody would fly drones over South Central Los Angeles? Hell no, because the negroes would grab their AK's and pick those things out of the sky like fat geese.

Alternately, we have proud militias who aren't part of the corporate American subversion complex( aka "private security") who are armed to the teeth. Expect these groups to grow exponentially as more and more proud but disgruntled American soldiers leave the service. The DHS is publicly shitting their pants over this.

Send a fucking drone over my house, motherfuckers. I have a remote-control airplane with explosive strapped to it. I'll fly it right into your bird's screw and we'll have ourselves a rootin' tootin' turkey roast.

Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (5, Funny)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097018)

And because it's Britain, there isn't much to worry about. The project will be delayed by 8 years, overrun its budget by about 12 Million GBP. They'll come up with a crap logo for it as they did for the Olympics, and within a few hours of launch, the drones will malfunction and start tasering trees; eventually the whole project will be scrapped for health and safety reasons, I mean, what if the tree falls on someone while it's being tasered?

Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (4, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097262)

Actually, I'd have to disagree with that.

They'll find a way to monetise this - have the robots automatically hand out fines, for instance - and believe me, within a year they will be amazingly efficient.

Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097216)

I know this part of TFS was about a slightly different story, but: "[...] modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from British protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers" sums up the state of the UK perfectly, our Glorious Government will spend millions on police drones that carry out surveillance on everyone from protesters to motorists to people throwing away rubbish, so everyone except criminals then?

It's the same old pattern, if it costs a fortune and can be used to keep the guy on the street under control, the budget is endless whether the excuse is terrorism/crime (new strict laws, insane airport security, full body scanners, ID cards, numerous measures to spy on everything we do) or our own "safety" (miles and miles of speed cameras, even on roads where you're lucky to be doing half the speed limit most of the time), and yet nobody seems to feel any safer.

Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097532)

"... and yet nobody seems to feel any safer."

And of course there is good reason for that: nobody is any safer.

Traffic cameras have actually increased accident rates. A recent report said that approximately 1 crime was solved for every 100,000 surveillance cameras installed (there are over a million in London). The report did not say whether any of them were major crimes, or whether the same crime might have been solved anyway had the cops been on the street instead of behind cameras. And how about cost? How much does it cost to install 100,000 cameras and pay someone to watch them?

And so on. It seems like it has just been an endless stream of the same old thing: give up your liberties in order to make you "safer", but in reality it inconveniences you greatly, costs you a lot of money, and doesn't work. But you have still lost those liberties.

--

"They that give up essential liberties in order to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097556)

Apologies, I did not mean to make it look like I was mixing traffic and surveillance cameras. They are separate issues, but accidentally got put into the same paragraph.

Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097498)

Tell that to Sergeant Killbot. His new 133.7 firmware includes a Modern Literature database and a hardware irony decoder.

Rubber bungs (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096778)

The LRAD is a highly directional speaker made of a flat array of piezoelectric transducers, producing intense beam of sound in a 30-degree cone. It can be used as a loudhailer, or deafen the target with a jarring, discordant noise. Some ships now carry LRAD as an anti-pirate measure: It was used to drive off an attack on the Seabourn Spirit off Somalia in 2005.

I recommend UK people carry rubber bungs to put in their ears, in the case of planetary destruction by Vogons and attack by insane police UAVs.

Re:Rubber bungs (0)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097076)

I recommend UK people carry rubber bungs to put in their ears...

Doesn't the bung go in the bunghole?

Re:Rubber bungs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097136)

Only if they're playing the brown note.

Re:Rubber bungs (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097158)

No, you need Teepee for bunghole!

Re:Rubber bungs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097334)

no. Teepee for YOUR bunghole, bunghole! you're a bunghole, bunghole!
I am from lake titicaca!!

Re:Rubber bungs (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097324)

When earplugs are outlawed, only outlaws will have earplugs.

Re:Rubber bungs (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097338)

WHAT?

not just criminals... (2, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096780)

British criminals...antisocial motorists

Last I heard, antisocial motoring was rather annoying, but not actually a crime.

"Citizens^W Subjects of the Crown, prepare to be coerced into socially approved behaviours!"

Re:not just criminals... (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097646)

British criminals...antisocial motorists

Last I heard, antisocial motoring was rather annoying, but not actually a crime.

Isn't some antisocial behaviour a crime? E.g. disturbing the peace with loud noise at night, which can just as easily be a motorcycle as a PA system.

Other than the first paragraph, the whole article is speculation worthy of the Daily Mail. Paragraph 2:

Surveillance is only the start, however. Military drones quickly moved from reconnaissance to strike, and if the British police follow suit, their drones could be armed

Timeline (5, Funny)

Snarf You (1285360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096814)

February 10 @ 6:43 PM: When Will AI Surpass Human Intelligence? [slashdot.org]
February 10 @ 9:45 PM: Six-legged Robot Teaches Itself to Walk [slashdot.org]
February 11 @ 2:24 AM: Armed Robot Drones to Join UK Police Force [slashdot.org]

In less than 8 hours we have gone from wondering about AI, to robots that have learned how to walk, to robots that are flying around shooting at people. This is all happening much too fast.

Re:Timeline (0)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096922)

I welcome our new self learning, walking, flying, shooting, robot AI overlords...

Re:Timeline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097200)

Score 1? Could at least use a 3/Funny. Clearly a very apt Simpsons ref to Kent Brockman's line "And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords" from the episode "Deep Space Homer". Kudos!

Re:Timeline (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097352)

Worst. Attempt to explain a lame and obscure inside joke in order to get modded up. Ever.

Re:Timeline (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097496)

Score 2? Could at least use a 3/Funny. Clearly a very apt Simpsons ref to Jeff Albertson, commonly known as Comic Book Guy's line "Worst. Episode. Ever!" from the episodes "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show", "Saddlesore Galactica", and "Worst Episode Ever". Kudos!

Re:Timeline (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097504)

Another nice Simpsons reference - the Comic Book Guy, "Last night's Itchy and Scratchy was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever!", from "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show". Kodos!

Re:Timeline (1)

BuFf0k_SPQA (1740268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096946)

Well said... This is a worrisome developement, especially if, like me, you live in South Africa, where our government will attempt to implement these half-baked ideas in an even more half-arsed way... Haven't our governments seen the Terminator movies, combined with the all knowing data repository that is google, when machines become self-aware, we will be in some serious trouble, at least in Terminator there were only military systems to worry about... Now we have civil robots that could make the machine's domination of our race that much easier...

Re:Timeline (5, Funny)

thhamm (764787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096976)

February 12 @ 1:24 PM: Humanoid Robots with Sunglasses talk funny Austrian Accent

Re:Timeline (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31096978)

February 11 @ 8:32 AM: Toasters take over Earth [wikipedia.org]

Re:Timeline (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097386)

Patch Tuesday @ 1:00 AM: .....Does Killbot 2010 want to send an error report to Microsoft?

Re:Timeline (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097544)

Does a remotely piloted aircraft even qualify as a Robot?

Its not like these things are autonomous or have even the remotest capability of independent decision making.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_HERTI [wikipedia.org]

What could possibly go wrong... (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096820)

Sure why not. Why not make them sniper bots while you're at it, throw in nuclear powered autonomous plains too...
FFS!

Re:What could possibly go wrong... (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096842)

throw in nuclear powered autonomous plains too...

Autonomous geographical features? Sounds like a slowly developing problem to me.

Re:What could possibly go wrong... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31096938)

I favor autonomous forests. You don't need that much food and the extra production is worth it.

Re:What could possibly go wrong... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097364)

Maybe plains as the nose on your face.

Re:What could possibly go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097082)

You have thirty seconds to comply...

Hurrah! (3, Insightful)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096824)

Neato! No longer will a call to the cops that your house has been burgled and there are footprints and fingerprints all over the place result in a response of 'we are too busy to investigate, here's a crime number for your insurance claim'. Now it will be 'we will have a unit over the area within minutes, here's a crime number for your insurance claim'. Still no investigation, but maybe the drone can measure how cars are parked and issue some tickets.

Re:Hurrah! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096850)

Still no investigation, but maybe the drone can measure how cars are parked and issue some tickets.

It will Stun^h^h^h^hDeafen everybody within a 100 metres radius on the assumption they were involved in the crime. Lucky you!

Re:Hurrah! (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096962)

Or maybe "...and here's the number somebody in your vicinity should call if our drone mistakes you for the burglar..."

From the people who brought you Skynet... (1)

Skratchez (1304839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096840)

another paradigm shift in law enforcement. Keeping the keyboard cops on their butts and the streets of England safe, with Hunter Taser bots!

Oblig ED-209 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31096902)

Drop your weapon, you have 15 seconds to comply.... /inverse jaguar engine sound fx starts

Idiots on parade (3, Interesting)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096904)

Anything sub-lethal will be childishly easy to defeat, once it's been seen in action a few times. And no doubt the methods used will quickly be adapted by terrorists for Third World use on the more dangerous versions of the drones.

I sat here for barely a minute and came up with three ways to mislead and confuse the drones that would almost certainly have a high degree of success. And I'm no expert.

One hint: how will the cops look when they taser a minor who happens to be dressed like the alleged criminal, and how difficult would it be to engineer such a substitution?

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096928)

Anything sub-lethal will be childishly easy to defeat, once it's been seen in action a few times.

Now you've blown it! They will have to use leathal force on people caught littering! (We knew that was coming, we live here.)

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097368)

We must dissent.

Re:Idiots on parade (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097010)

I sat here for barely a minute and came up with three ways to mislead and confuse the drones that would almost certainly have a high degree of success. And I'm no expert.

I'm guessing armed robot drones in the UK aren't there to catch Ocean's 11 level criminals. Quelling soccer riots, following fleeing vehicles, traveling along with protest groups... the drones are probably going to replace the more expensive and slower helicopter crews in the UK police force. Most of the time you just need to let people know that the police are watching, and they'll behave. Or they'll panic and run, and be followed.

Re:Idiots on parade (1, Insightful)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097016)

I don't understand your hint. I don't know how things work in your area, but round here when cops kill or frame someone it is hushed up by cops and all the evidence is 'lost'. If there is enough of a fuss made, an investigation is held by cops and the results are heavily censored as they are 'not in the public interest'.

So yeah, if a cop tasers an innocent minor and gets found out, that cop will get suspended on full pay for a few years while an investigation chugs along, then when the fuss has died down and the not guilty verdict brought in he will be reinstated and get the promotions he missed out on while suspended.

Re:Idiots on parade (2, Informative)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097264)

I don't understand your hint. I don't know how things work in your area, but round here when cops kill or frame someone it is hushed up by cops and all the evidence is 'lost'. If there is enough of a fuss made, an investigation is held by cops and the results are heavily censored as they are 'not in the public interest'.

So yeah, if a cop tasers an innocent minor and gets found out, that cop will get suspended on full pay for a few years while an investigation chugs along, then when the fuss has died down and the not guilty verdict brought in he will be reinstated and get the promotions he missed out on while suspended.

Worst case, they'll give him the opportunity to resign on full pension [wikipedia.org] and land a lucrative book deal [amazon.co.uk] , but yeah, they reserve that for the truly corrupt and incompetent.

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097074)

I sat here for barely a minute and came up with three ways to mislead and confuse the drones that would almost certainly have a high degree of success. And I'm no expert.

Assuming the designers are also not experts and themselves spent less than your generous minute wondering whether anyone might not want to be blinded/deafened/tasered by their device, then you should be well ahead of the game.

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097270)

Assuming the designers are also not experts and themselves spent less than your generous minute wondering whether anyone might not want to be blinded/deafened/tasered by their device, then you should be well ahead of the game.

Past experience of the British government's uncanny ability with technology suggests that unless these drones can make money by handing out fines, the GP is indeed well ahead of the game.

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097436)

Well, if the drones can stun evildoers for collection by ground forces, just give them a cut of the Information Retrieval Procedure fees collected from the evildoer. Simple.
 

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097410)

It is a pretty safe assumption.

The history of things like this is a history of failure. The main reason being that these kind of measures tend to be outrageously difficult and expensive to build and put in the field, but relatively cheap and easy to defeat or destroy.

Take, for example, traffic-light cameras, intended to catch people who run red lights. My city spent something like $150,000.00 for each one. Yet, all it takes is someone in a halloween mask, a long stick, some string, a little duct tape, and a can of spray paint to totally defeat it. Assuming you wear a used mask and find a stick somewhere, the cost is about $3.00 and the time it takes is about 15 minutes, if you are in the area.

Granted, this might not be so easy to take down as a camera on a pole. But unless it's stealthed, today it does not take much to easily (and pretty cheaply) make a heat-seeking missile from off-the-store-shelf parts, in your garage. Not as easily as a stick, and not as cheaply as spray paint, but several orders of magnitude less than it cost them to build the damned thing.

Heck, it could be a community project, with all the local teenagers making their own variations.

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097630)

Or...

You could take this route which is more permanent...

http://www.speedcam.co.uk/gatso2.htm [speedcam.co.uk]

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

_4rp4n3t (1617415) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097694)

Wait, did you just equate building a heat-seeking missile to taping a can of spray paint to a pole?

Re:Idiots on parade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097154)

Bring it on!
Birdstrikes (think Trafalgar Sq), hitting power lines and the like, downdrafts between big buildings, or letting a RC model do a banzai run. I suppose they will do a Bruce Willis and fly down and into the tube system too.Not to mention wont work in FOG - just like the idiot who thought up this one.
Now fox hunting is out, country squires can have a bit more target practice.

Going to look great mounted on a bedroom wall, or auctioned off on ebay

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097218)

Anything sub-lethal will be childishly easy to defeat, once it's been seen in action a few times.

Yeah, all you have to do to defeat a Bucha Effect weapon is to turn off your central nervous system!

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097474)

Or a helmet with cheap video cameras that were hacked to either not register or to filter out the flashes. It isn't that hard. If you have more money, get a set of military goggles with limiting circuitry.

Of more concern, I think, would be something like the Active Denial System. But no doubt that is defeatable, too. I strongly suspect that silvered fabric or plastic would prevent the vast majority of the radiation from reaching the skin.

Childishly easy, huh? (1)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097266)

I see a commenter who's never been tased.

Re:Idiots on parade (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097346)

Childishly easy? There is equipment that can protect against directed sound weapons...a huge, bulky, helmet like apparatus that uses several things to block sound.

There's equipment that can stop tasers...basically a faraday cage around your body.

Heck, there's equipment that usually stops the low powered bullets used by cops. Just wrap your body in kevlar vests and kevlar pants and handgun bullets won't be able to touch you.

Now, as you waddle down the street swathed in protective gear, it'll be trivial for the ground cops to surround you and beat you to the ground with billy clubs. It'll also be a lot harder for you to get away after you commit a crime by trying to disable a drone.

Every weapon has a defense. As you may notice, the defense against lethal weapons is different from the one against the currently available nonlethal ones. So if the cops have all these weapons available, it'll be a lot harder for you to avoid them all.

It's a 'topia sir, but not one of the good ones... (4, Insightful)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096910)

Dammit you guys...

1984 and Brazil (movie not country) are not bloody HOWTO guides!

Re:It's a 'topia sir, but not one of the good ones (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097398)

Call back with these lame film comparisons when the drones start strapping people to chairs and interrogating them. If anything, this is more like Minority Report.

Well I for one... (2, Funny)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096916)

I think you know where this is going...

Checkmate (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096930)

Game over. :(

Not impossible, but very unlikely (5, Informative)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096950)

This is a highly speculative article, assuming that because these drones can carry weapons that they will.

While I wouldn't put it past the Home Office to want to do this, I'd be surprised if the Police were too keen.

Here in the UK there is a strange dichotomy, we seem perfectly happy to be watched all the time, but the idea of armed police is an absolute no go.

Riot police in the UK don't even use water cannon, and rubber bullets haven't been used by british police in decades. There are a few areas which have introduced a handful of Tasers, but these are used by specialist armed response units, not the average bobby on the beat. The idea of launching anything potentially dangerous from the air seem highly unlikely when they don't even use it on the ground.

Of course that doesn't stop the police from being violent, but when they are it tends to be national news for weeks after. See the death of Ian Tomlinson and the controversial "ketteling" technique used at the demonstrations in the summer for good examples.

The UK Police are currently trying desperately trying to improve their public image after a lot of bad press from the 2009 demos, and the ongoing harassment of photographers and the abuse of the Section 44 Stop and Search powers. Doing something like this would put them back to square one the moment it goes wrong.

So while not impossible, this report seemed to be highly speculative and purely designed to get clicks and build paranoia.

For all their flaws, the UK police are not actually idiots, and in a land where police are not armed, and using a baton in a riot is considered heavy handed, let alone water cannon and rubber bullets, launching Tasers from the sky would be public relations disaster.

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097190)

"not the average bobby on the beat"

And when was the last time you saw one of those?

In my area of North London it's weeks maybe even months between sightings.

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (1)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097428)

I see quite a few, mixed with those PCSO pretend cops. Although to be fair the PCSOs in our area are pretty good.

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (5, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097294)

Yes, the death of Ian Tomlinson was a horrific example of police brutality out of control. One that would not be out-of-place in a fascist dictatorship. And yes, it was big news for weeks afterwards.

So was the police murder of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Remind me again, in each case, who was held responsible for these murders? Do we know their names? Were they jailed?

The answer is a resounding No in all cases.

So please, stop telling us we should be giving them the benefit of the doubt, that this report is only to fuel paranoia.

When it comes to the police in the UK, their own actions have demonstrated that paranoia is necessary and healthy.

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (1, Troll)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097712)

There is almost no violent crime in the UK by US standards (suggesting the surveillance state pays off), and a couple of dead guys at the hands of police is a trifle for a country that size. Let's not get emotional over tiny numbers. Further, if the public objected to a surveillance state they'd be politically active against it.

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097306)

Of course that doesn't stop the police from being violent, but when they are it tends to be national news for weeks after. See the death of Ian Tomlinson and the controversial "ketteling" technique used at the demonstrations in the summer for good examples.

While I mostly agree with your summary of the likelihood of seeing armed drones, I have to say when it comes to police violence, when it's found out it is national news for weeks after, but how many incidents never get discovered or reported? They even tried to cover up Ian Tomlinson's death for the first couple of days and it's only the advent of camera phones and the video evidence they captured that revealed their lies. How many times has something like this happened in the past and not been discovered - as recently as five years earlier even the truth behind Tomlinson's death would probably have never been revealed, this is a rare case of the surveillance environment coming back to bite the police. No wonder they are so against the public using cameras around them.

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097460)

A book you may find interesting, about the issues you describe above.

The title is The Technology of Political Control., written in 1977 by Carol Ackroyd, Karen Margolis, Jonathan Rosenhead, Tim Shallice. Penguin Paperback, ISBN 0140219439

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (5, Informative)

rabbitfood (586031) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097502)

...but the idea of armed police is an absolute no go...launching Tasers from the sky would be public relations disaster.

First, the UK's armed police is significantly on the rise (for the Met, deployments have risen over 50% in six years, despite firearm incidents falling), and they're almost part of the landscape in London. Most of them are still static patrols of high-profile locations, but the Met has been actively planning for routine armed patrols [guardian.co.uk] .

The UK Police also seem immune to legal boundaries - their retention of DNA and the use of 'stop-and-search' have both been ruled illegal, with no discernible effect to date. More worryingly, even in high-profile cases of physical abuse, manslaughter and credit-card fraud, officers have been quietly rewarded rather than disciplined.

Secondly, they're getting much better at PR. If the Guardian [guardian.co.uk] is right, they started using the spy drones to scour the coast for immigrants: "There is potential for these [maritime] uses to be projected as a 'good news' story to the public rather than more 'big brother'." And, since then, they've been practicing on the BNP [bbc.co.uk] (paradoxically an anti-immigration minority party with a poor reputation).

It would be utterly wrong to conclude that the UK police are power-hungry, trigger-happy thugs with mental deficiencies, lethal toys, immunity from sanction and slick PR skills. But it would be incautious not to consider the possibility.

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097530)

2005 would like its analysis back. Tasers are now being issued and used by street Plod [thisislondon.co.uk] in many [bbc.co.uk] forces [bbc.co.uk] .

How many of the taserings reported above did you read about "for weeks after"? The beauty of taser is that it's the perfect punishment and compliance tool. No big bruises, no lasting damage except in rare cases, where the excuse is always "underlying medical condition".

(Some) Plod who don't have them say they don't want them. Plod who have them love them, and will never go back. Police PR is about covering up [thisislondon.co.uk] their actions, not about altering them.

Re:Not impossible, but very unlikely (1)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097622)

Great... so it is unlikely to happen in the UK... Cops here in America will be drooling all over as soon as the UK "proves" that this is a good idea. And other countries are even less likely to hold such qualms about it...

I, for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31096986)

...bow to the awful might of our new dronic overlords.
And my brotherly love goes to my subdued fellows in the unholy kingdom.
Fight the power! Down with the Combine!

Seriously, given the state of public security in Britain, nothing surprises me anymore. This step further lowers the bar for abuse of power.
The amount of compliance with surveillance fantasies like this on the island astounds me. Where's your spunk.

But... (1, Funny)

johndmartiniii (1213700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096990)

will the armed robot drones run Linux?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097280)

Well our Warships run Windows, so I guess not. Hopefully the AI will be intelligent enough to reinstall itself under Linux.

All in all... (1)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31096998)

it's just another brick in the wall. I can't believe these tactics and tools are the will of the people of the UK. I sincerely hope that if it is not they rein in their government--while they still can.

Bring it on! (1)

lorg (578246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097002)

I'll just quote myself from two weeks ago ... Guess it took less then a month for the idea to go from "surveilance" to "armed reponsons". I do wonder what the next step will be; perhaps a little printer so it can give you a ticket right then and there.

"Since most police officers in the UK dont carry firearms this would or could be a faster response then sending out the Armed response vehicles. So I do wonder how long it will take them to arm the drones, after all what harm could that possibly do ... That way you can stop all them tractor thieves and cashpoint burglers dead in the their tracks."

Could be tasers. Why stop there, let us go for missiles (to much collateral damage tho) and chainguns (not sure it could take one of those - probably to large and shakes to much etc) while we are at it. BRING IT ON!

Re:Bring it on! (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097380)

It seems like it would be a ridiculous idea. When your armed drone can be defeated with a butterfly net, all you'll accomplish is giving criminals easy access to weapons at the public's expense.

sluggyfreelance in the comics slashbox (1)

astar (203020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097030)

herti-corp

but more seriously

BAE is the second largest defense contractor in the world. It got caught doing bribery years back and promised not to do it any more. But of course it did and lied about it. The big bribe lately was a bribe of the Saudis on maybe a 43 billion dollar deal., which is even discussed in the bribee's autobiography.

Now you might think BAE might get their ticket pulled. But on the brit side, BAE is key to their global strategy and on the usa side, a real investigation of the saudi deal would yield information on how the bribe was spent, which would be troublesome with respect to 9/11. So everyone gave BAE a nice plea deal, where BAE pays a few hundred million dollars for lying about bribery, but the charge does not mention bribery.

Of course Obama should have nixed the plea bargin, but the deal was so wired and had been in the works so long, only Obama could have nixed it. It is worth noting, but it is almost pointless to complain very much. Still, crushing BAE would have been helpful.

wikipedia under BAE-Systems has a lot on BAE.

Suppose they are hacked (1)

sipatha (1162265) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097050)

robot: Good day human. You have the right to remain silent.... robot reboots ......System updating ......delete UK laws ......uploading Chinese laws robot: you are to be executed. accused: but you have just read me my rights boom

They should first spy on cheating MPs . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097066)

. . . a bunch of British MPs abused a system for living expenses: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_Parliamentary_expenses_scandal [wikipedia.org]

. . . especially the guy who used tax payer money to clean the "moat" around his estate . . .

. . . a drone armed with a Hellfire missile would be appropriate justice for him.

It all starts with robocop (1)

MistrX (1566617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097120)

Ofcourse, it'll start without harm with just the cops patrolling the street. Then they remove the human factor to bring in computerized lawenforcement. They do that with hanging CCTV everywhere. Ofcourse, to prevent terrorism and such. But it's not enough. It seems crime is still not solved. So what do we do? Bring in military drones with a lobotomy on it's weaponry. However this will still not produce the required results so we use military drones but with 100% effectiveness to link them to a central computer-core.
In the near future the artificial intelligence network will be called Skynet and will become self-aware. Then it will build an army of machines.

I don't understand but 'some' people warned us about this.

Now why does it reminds me of OCP corp? (1)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097180)

And my first thought was not about Terminator, but about Robocop. Seeing how it goes, I'll bet that they'll put some social and then commercial advertisements into them, forcing you to listen to it.

"Stay calm, citizen, your crime report is being processed. Meanwhile, consider that with new Toyota your chances of getting in accident are statistically lower, and it comfortable and ergonomic interior would help you to recover from stress much faster. Think about your future right now!" Now that is a scary thought.

Re:Now why does it reminds me of OCP corp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097374)

"Stay calm, citizen, your crime report is being processed. Meanwhile, consider that with new Toyota your chances of getting in accident are statistically lower, and it comfortable and ergonomic interior would help you to recover from stress much faster. Think about your future right now!"

Anyone can have a statistically lower accident rate when all of their cars are in the garage for recall issues :)

Am I the only one who thinks... (2, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097232)

That flying ultra-powerful strobes are perfect for an outdoor rave?

An interesting book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097342)

The title is The Technology of Political Control., written in 1977 by Carol Ackroyd, Karen Margolis, Jonathan Rosenhead, Tim Shallice. Penguin Paperback, ISBN 0140219439

something new (1)

Atreide (16473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097408)

after bobbies
here come robbies
to catch robbers
raised with teletubbies

Dark Angel (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097442)

Straight out of the TV show...

Next thing you know, we will be experimenting with genetically modified super hot chicks that can kick ass and ride a bike to save the day and take out these drones.

Re:Dark Angel (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097684)

If only the outcomes of these crazy ideas were that good...

When did Wired... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097454)

...become the Daily Mail?

20 paragraphs of speculation, then:

In 2008 the Met rejected government plans for a wider issue of tasers to non-specialist officers because of the fear they could cause, and there have been numerous complaints of abuse. For some, the arrival of a hovering law-enforcement drone with a video eyes and a 50,000-volt taser at the ready might be a police technology too far.

So the Met police, not exactly known for their touchy-feely approach, have rejected a more widespread use of weapons despite it having been approved by the government, but they're now going to begin flying armed drones?

The drones that have been used by British police forces so far have been four rotor craft with cameras. Given that they're ground controlled, the difference between their use and that of helicopter surveillance (and I'm not asserting that the latter is used appropriately in all circumstances) appears primarily to be that of cost, rather than the impending rise of the machines.

(The captcha on this was "conforms". Doubleplus ungood.)

Soooo... (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097480)

...what they're trying to say is they're increasing their police force? Or are these robots not standard-issue Englishmen?

Tactical Nukes (3, Funny)

Odinlake (1057938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097514)

on unmaned remote controled vehicles is ultimately the only thing that will deter shoplifters.

One word: . . . (1)

warehousenorth (645004) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097538)

. . . Daleks!.

Not as good as real cops (4, Insightful)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097572)

They'll never program robots to have the hatred, malice and spite of real coppers. Maybe a robot could gun down an unarmed man on a tube station platform, but could it convincingly circulate a wholly misleading account of events afterwards? And then, after the inquest, issue a press release basically saying "We don't care, we'll do it again if we feel like it".

"Shot," not "shot at." (0)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31097642)

British criminals should expect to be "shot." Drones won't miss if they're firing a decent weapon like a rifle. This is a significant improvement over human beings. Most of the people who use guns are lousy marksmen.

If they're flying around... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31097686)

How are we going to throw flaming tyres on them?

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