Pilotless planes used to track the Taliban could soon be hovering over our streets, it has emerged.
Remote-controlled drones are already used widely by the military. Now ministers believe they are likely to become ‘increasingly useful’ for police work.
Armed with heat-seeking cameras, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would hover hundreds of feet in the air, gathering intelligence and watching suspects.
In theory, their advantages are clear. They are cheaper and quieter than conventional helicopters, can circle their target for hours without refuelling – and they don’t get bored on long surveillance missions.
However, their use is likely to further fuel concerns about our march towards a Big Brother state. Britain already has more CCTV cameras than the rest of Europe put together.
More than four million closed-circuit TV cameras cover the streets; cars are monitored using cameras that check registration plates and a new law will see footage taken of shoppers buying alcohol.