Guj: Police drones keep hawk’s eye on people during lockdown

Ahmedabad: From busting secret terrace parties to catching youths playing volleyball, the camera- mounted unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, are helping the Gujarat Police in enforcing the coronavirus lockdown in an effective manner.

The police have deployed around 200 drones across the state to keep a watch on people’s movement during the lockdown, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Gandhinagar, G G Jasani, said.

Using these drones, which can record videos while hovering above, over 7,000 people have been arrested across the state after they were found loitering outside instead of staying indoors. They were arrested under section 188 of the IPC for defying the police notification, officials said.

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“Ahmedabad Rural police also uses drones to maintain social distancing and enforce total lockdown. On an average, 10 to 12 persons are arrested every day after they are spotted by drones,” Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ahmedabad district, S H Sarda, said.

“Drones give us a bird’s eye view of a particular area. We use them to make sure that social distancing is maintained in public as well as private areas. Recently, a drone camera captured faces of four persons who had assembled at a public place unnecessarily. Though they drove off after spotting our drone, we caught them later as their faces had been captured,” he said.

“Some places are difficult to monitor in routine patrolling on vehicles. Taking advantage, some youths in Bavla town had started playing volleyball in a ground located between buildings and walls. However, we were able to nab 11 of them after their act was caught in our drone camera,” the officer added.

In Surat city, police had recently busted a ‘pakoda party’ on the terrace of a residential building in Sarthana area using a drone.

“To dodge the police, people have started gathering on terraces. Luckily, we have drones to keep a check on such violators. Recently, we arrested six persons who had gathered on a terrace and enjoying pakodas, which were being fried on the terrace itself. We can now keep an eye on terraces while being on the ground,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Prashant Sumbe, said.

Recently, three men were caught playing cards while sitting in a corner of their society, a place that was not visible from internal road, he said, adding, We had also caught people playing cricket inside residential societies using drones.

“Drones are also proving effective in creating fear among people, as they have now realised that they are no longer assemble and hide on their terraces or in remote corners of their localities,” he added.

Several videos of people running away frantically after spotting police drones have also gone viral on social media platforms.

In Ahmedabad city too, drones have helped police in catching people playing carrom and cards on their terraces with family, friends and neighbours.

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