(Australian Associated Press)
Drones monitoring crowds for terror threats are one or two years away from being deployed, Victoria Police’s counter terrorism boss says.
The new technology will keep an eagle eye on crowds at major events as part of the latest counter-terrorism policy revealed by Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther on Wednesday.
“Being ambitious, I’d like to see them immediately, but that’s just not possible,” he told reporters.
“I anticipate a median would be one to two years but we might be able to accelerate that with the right investment.”
The drones would be able to monitor crowd movements and numbers, discern exit and entry points and collect information about behaviour.
“If someone were to approach a venue with a backpack … and departed the venue and left the backpack there, the behavioural aspect of the drone could send that information back to the command post,” Mr Guenther explained.
Frontline resources on the ground would then be able to determine if the abandoned backpack was a threat.
It is yet to be determined who would operate the drones but the senior officer did not rule out a private security firm model, such as that which operates in the UK.
The bigger-picture anti-terror strategy includes early intervention programs, with police trained to identify indicators of radicalisation.
Elite university graduates with expertise in analysis would also be recruited to help find patterns and assess threats.
“We need to get some smart young people that are very good at analysing big data,” Mr Guenther said
The role of the new Victorian Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, where police and mental health professionals work alongside each other to manage potential threats, would also be expanded.