Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Police extend drone surveillance over Stockholm

Mass surveillance

Published 25 January 2024
- By Editorial Staff

The police’s agreement regarding surveillance using drones in Stockholm has been extended. The stated purpose of the surveillance is to not only detect crimes but also to prevent them.

In February, police in Stockholm County announced that they had decided to conduct camera surveillance of parts of the region using drones in order to reduce crime and increase security in crime-prone areas.

The police have now decided to extend the agreement for the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in 28 selected areas.

– We see that there is a risk of crime in these areas. Then we have mainly looked at the risk of violent acts, shootings and explosions, but also previous crime statistics, says Emil Eisersjö, Deputy Commander of Operation Frigg, to Mitt i Stockholm. Operation Frigg is the new national initiative of the Swedish police against organized crime.

The surveillance is mainly for crime prevention purposes, as the police already have legal support to send up drones during ongoing criminal events. In the past year, it has been used once a day, says Eisersjö.

The agreement is criticized by lawyer Peter Hellman, who points to a study by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), which shows that camera surveillance can be effective as a crime prevention measure in certain areas, such as parking lots and residential areas – but not in central city centers, public transportation or special residential areas with multi-family houses. Nor did it help reduce violent crime, according to the study. With that in mind, he stresses the importance of balancing the potential benefits of surveillance with privacy.

– The police are making sweeping assessments that cover large areas where many innocent people who are not committing crimes live, he says.

The new agreement is effective through March 4, but could be extended or focused on specific areas.

Facts: Surveillance with UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems)

Police authorities in Sweden are authorized to conduct camera surveillance in public places when there is a risk of serious crime. The stated purpose of this surveillance is to prevent, deter or detect crime and to assist in the investigation and prosecution of crime. Footage collected by these cameras can be used as evidence in legal proceedings, especially in cases where there are no eyewitnesses. This can be critical to the outcome of a case.

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