ABC Updated May 13, 2012, 5:25 pm
Victoria Police have confirmed they are investigating the use of unmanned drones to help fight crime.
Police say the technology could make their jobs safer but civil libertarians fear drones could lead to grave invasions of people's privacy.
Police will not specify what roles drones would have in the force, but it is believed they could be used in surveillance and during car chases.
In a written statement, Victoria Police described the technology as rapidly evolving and said anything that could provide more effective and safer policing is worth assessing.
Law enforcement agencies in the US are set to begin using drones from tomorrow and Victoria's Police Airwing recently hosted a conference to examine their potential.
Victoria Police today said it will continue its investigations into whether drones are suitable for future operations, but did not provide any time frame for a decision.
"Victoria Police will continue to assess the quickly maturing UAS technology market for potential operational use in the future," they said in a statement.
But the idea has alarmed civil libertarians who say drones could be used to track individuals who may not have committed any crime.
Liberty Victoria president Spencer Zifcak says the group will write to Victoria Police to express their concerns.
"They will be armed with technology that will enable them to identify individuals. So, for example, if the police wish to track a political demonstration, drones will not only be able to track where that demonstration is going but also to begin identifying the people who are members of that demonstration," he said.
Recently an activist in Poland demonstrated the unique capabilities of small drones when he launched a 'quadrocopter' to track a violent protest in Warsaw.
The footage, which was posted online and quickly went viral, also raised questions of
Mr Zifcak says drones are capable of grave invasions of privacy.
"Drones will be able to trace every movement of a person from the time they leave home in the morning to the time they get back home in the evening," he said.
"They're technologically sophisticated and carry great potential for tracking people who may not be involved in any sort of criminal activity."
The Victorian Government would not comment on the use of drones as they said it was a police operational matter.