krou writes "According to documents obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act, the UK police plan on deploying unmanned drones in the UK to 'revolutionize policing' and extend domestic 'surveillance, monitoring and evidence gathering,' which will be used in 'the routine work of the police, border authorities and other government agencies.' The documents come from the South Coast Partnership, 'a Home Office-backed project in which Kent police and others are developing a national drone plan' in conjunction with BAE Systems. The stated aim is to introduce the system in time for the 2012 Olympics. Initially, Kent police stated that the system would be used to monitor shipping lanes and illegal immigrants, but the documents reveal that this was part of a PR strategy: 'There is potential for these [maritime] uses to be projected as a "good news" story to the public rather than more "big brother."' However, the documents talk about a much wider range of usage, such as '[detecting] theft from cash machines, preventing theft of tractors and monitoring antisocial driving,' as well as 'road and railway monitoring, search and rescue, event security and covert urban surveillance.' Also, due to the expense involved, it has also been suggested that some data could be sold off to private companies, or the drones could be used for commercial purposes."
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