Algemeen Dagblad, 18 March 2013: 'Police increasingly deploy 'secret' planes'
"Police are increasingly using drones in the fight against criminals, according to data from the relevant ministries. These unmanned aerial vehicles are secretly used to track burglars, follow escape cars of criminals and track cannabis growers. There are privacy concerns in the House of Representatives.
Data from the Ministries of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Interior and Security and Justice show that drones have flown out in at least 40 places in our country. This happened on at least 132 different days since 2009. Moreover, the number of flights is increasing.
As the flights are not disclosed, the foundation speaks Privacy First of illegal operations. Especially since citizens cannot notice the silent drones with cameras flying around day and night. "It is a form of covert camera surveillance. That is prohibited," argues lawyer Vincent Böhre. The D66 parliamentary group demands clarification. "The deployment must be legal and verifiable. Now we know nothing," says MP Gerard Schouw.
Drones are basically weapons of war to conduct reconnaissance flights or shoot at opponents. The type used by police are unarmed, but take camera and thermal images.
Of the vast majority of deployments, ranging from a few hours a day to 20 consecutive days, it is unclear exactly what they were for. Apart from tracking down criminals, the unmanned aerial vehicles have at least been used to fight major fires, dike inspections and major events. The Dutch military assists in the deployments.
The police are enthusiastic about the use, but do not want to say anything about the drones because it is `a detection tool'. The planes have already flown over Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Arnhem, Utrecht, Amersfoort and Almere, among others."
Source: Algemeen Dagblad 18 March 2013, front page. Also published in AD/Haagsche Courant, Rotterdams Dagblad, Groene Hart, De Dordtenaar, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Amersfoortse Courant, Rivierenland and the Dagblad van het Noorden (p. 4).