Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, has recently recommended the use of Apps in fighting crime. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

The shortage of Police officers was one of the major findings of the Khayelitsha Commision conducted by Advocate. Vusi Pikoli in South Africa. Shortage of police officers is often highlighted as the major challenge in fighting crime in South Africa. This is a challenge in a number of countries.  To mitigate this challenge some countries are beginning to use technology to protect citizens. In Dubai, they are planning to use autonomous cars, facial recognition technology and drones as part of their police force.


Mini autonomous police cars paired with companion drones and facial recognition technology will begin patroling the streets of Dubai by the end of the year to help the city identify and track down criminal suspects. This week's announcement by city officials comes as Dubai races to reshape the future of its law enforcement. In demonstrations, the robot never appears to move beyond a strolling pace. But the four-wheeled security vehicle comes with a built-in aerial drone that can surveil areas and people that the robot can't reach.

Named the O-R3, the patrol car can navigate on its own using machine-learning algorithms. Police can control the robot remotely from behind a computer dashboard. The vehicle also comes equipped with thermal imaging, and license plate readers. The manufacturer, Singapore-based OTSAW Digital, claims the car and drone duo as the first of its kind.

The Dubai police force and OTSAW said the robots aren't intended to replace human officers but to better manage resources and manpower. OTSAW said the vehicles can recharge themselves and operate around the clock.

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"We seek to augment operations with the help of technology such as robots. Essentially, we aim for streets to be safe and peaceful without heavy police patrol," Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, the head of the Dubai police, said in a statement.

Last month, Dubai recruited the world's first police bot, tasked not with dispensing weaponized justice but with the more modest assignment of monitoring tourist attractions. The robot, dubbed Robocop, speaks English and Arabic and soon will speak four, officials said. The electronic officer is the first of many to come. Within the next few years, the city will introduce a nearly 10-foot-tall model, capable of speeds of almost 50 mph, which can also be controlled by a human officer from inside its frame, and can can heavy equipment.

By 2030, Dubai plans for robots to make up 25 percent of its police force.


During the Khayelitsha Commission one of the Police officers recommended use of technology in solving some of the challenges experienced by police officers. It is time to consider seriously the use of technology in the fight against crime in South Africa.