12 October 2016
Robotics offers huge potential for law enforcement in the face of new challenges and resource constraints. Nonetheless, there are organisational, operational and societal implications that the technology might bring.
In July 2016, the Dallas Police deployed a bomb disposal robot to deliver an explosive device to neutralise a shooter. The decision to weaponise a non-lethal robot was deemed necessary as other options to subdue the shooter would have resulted in more casualties. The lethal application of robots in law enforcement was reportedly unprecedented. It understandably drew profound interest not dissimilar from the military domain when such technology gained importance for offensive applications.
The operational and ethical issues stemming from the Dallas situation would be of greater relevance to countries afflicted with gun violence. For those with low crime rates, the Dallas incident presages the future of law enforcement where robots could play an integral role across the spectrum of operational functions.
… Muhammad Faizal bin Abdul Rahman is a Research Fellow with the Homeland Defence Programme at the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), a unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
CENS / Online
Last updated on 13/10/2016