Chinese police have increasingly stepped up their fight against narcotics, especially the growing of poppies, with a new weapon in their arsenal — drone.
In Nanxun, a district of eastern China’s Huzhou city, police have begun using drones to survey the area under their jurisdiction to stamp out illegal growing of poppies by locals.
In China, poppy is believed to be a sedative that can be used to relieve minor ailments. Some unscrupulous merchants even use it to add flavor to dishes. This makes clandestine poppy growing difficult to eradicate.
April and May are usually the season of harvest for this additive plant. Traditionally, on-the-ground police inspection involves combing through entire neighborhoods, which is time-consuming and inefficient.
In Huzhou, a police task force responsible for cracking down on poppy growing has deployed drones to plug law enforcement loopholes.
“The drones provide monitoring and inspection from the skies, and thus compensate for the limitations of human footwork,” said a local police officer who wasn’t named in the Chinese media reports.
“This way, we maximized the efficiency in detecting and uprooting illegally grown poppies.”
He added that with the help of drones, the inspectors detected eight poppy-growing plots and destroyed 80 poppy plants.
Thanks to its agility and wide coverage, drone captures aerial footage of homes, abandoned courtyards, fish ponds, paddies, fields and expanses of wilderness, where poppies might be grown, and beams it back for analysis.
Police in Huzhou is not alone in benefiting from the drone-enabled patrol.
To ensure a “no-stone-unturned” approach to fighting narcotics, Chinese police have armed themselves with a panoply of cutting-edge technologies to keep up the pressure on poppy growing across the country.