New rules for private security companies in South Africa

Police Minister Beki Sele has published draft regulations regarding the use of “remotely piloted aircraft” – better known colloquially as drones – in South Africa.

While private security groups in South Africa have been using drones for several years for tasks such as property surveillance and anti-poaching, drone licenses are issued on a case-by-case basis and so far there have been no regulations for the use of drones by individuals. the sector as a whole.

The draft rules will make it easier for private security companies in South Africa to use drones in their operations, however the proposed rules also make it clear that the use of drones will be closely monitored and controlled to ensure their use is not abused or illegal.

Specific issues raised by the draft rules include:

  • Drone application process, including information about security companies and who will be piloting the aircraft;
  • Ensuring that people piloting drones are licensed and qualified;
  • Regular assessments and a register of persons authorized to operate drones in these companies;
  • Determining the conditions under which private security companies can use drones and advertise their services.

Drones in your estate and complex

Private security companies in South Africa have been using drones to fight crime for several years now, especially in prestigious complexes and states where it can be difficult to track down criminals on the ground.

Charnel Hutting, head of marketing and communications at Fidelity Services Group, said that even in a gated complex, there is always a risk of muggings and theft inside and outside the complex, which is why many estates now combine security options and electrified barriers. with more high-tech solutions such as drones.

“We believe that drones and the deployment of a mobile drone team not only act as a highly effective visible deterrent to criminals, but also help to immediately track down and locate criminal elements after breaching the outer perimeter on the territory or anywhere else. a scenario in which the suspects are on the loose in a gated estate.”

She said the use of drones is ideal for security and will increase the ability for proactive crime prevention and the ability to plan crime prevention operations. It will also facilitate faster response to criminal incidents and live action scenes.

“These high-tech innovations definitely represent the future of security, but as highlighted earlier, they work best when paired with an integrated security offering.”

police drones

In June Sele confirmed that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is purchasing new drones for use in crime-fighting and monitoring operations, especially in rural areas.

Cele said a total of 166 drones will be acquired in three phases and the technology will be rolled out across all of its operations. “The current proposed drone deployment model for the first, second and third phases will include 43 communities,” the minister said.

Sele said the drones are being purchased specifically for use in:

  • Provincial Operational Command Centers;
  • District operational management centers;
  • Safer City Projects;
  • Satellite drones serving various police stations;
  • Use of drones in rural security plans.

Although SAPS has already conducted a number of pilot programs in areas such as Johannesburg, this is the first time that drones have been used en masse across the country as part of a national law enforcement strategy.


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