Originally posted by stumason
Anyhoo, I fear we may have strayed somewhat OT... Maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and boats have, for a long time, been very useful in catching smugglers. If these are used in the same manner as manned aircraft are in that role, I see no issue. There is a "need" for it and it works.
The big difference is that patrol craft and the like can generally do something about this when they come across it. Drones, being nothing more than an 'eye in the sky' can't and still rely on 'men on the ground/sea' to follow it up and do something about it (unless this is heading towards armeddrones). Whilst helicopters and employing police &c isn't cheap, drones and remote pilots won't be and they're still going to need people to get out there and catch criminals monitored by drones. If this is a PFI or PPP deal, then the taxpayer will pay through the nose for this and the project will be more expensive (and less efficient) than what it is expected to replace. Also, if it is a PFI/PPP thing (on top of it being EU) any culpability and accountability will be intangible and impossible to track down. Nothing will ever be anyone's fault even if 'lessons will be learned' as is usually rolled-out when the SHTF.
Is this going to be a Big Society thing like Cameron expected with the coast guards? Cut funding and just expect RNLI volunteers to do more work? Sack more coast guards, police and immigration, then use taxpayer money for drones and then try and jolly everyone up who lives near the coast to hang around with sticks and farming utensils as the smugglers get closer to the coast? LOL!
I understand what you're saying about feature creep though, but the Police already float about in there choppers looking for anyone with a slightly warmer than usual roof..
Yes, they do. Hence the inevitability of function creep. Coasts today, urban and city areas tomorrow. I presume you're familiar with the concept of 'panopticon', well these will be flying panopiticons watching you 'just in case', and no longer restricted or tethered to particular areas. To paraphrase a meme of a few years ago: you don't have to go to prison now, the prison comes to you!