Since 2017, the police have increasingly deployed drones for maintaining public order and safety (e.g. demonstrations), for emergency response (e.g. traffic accidents), and for forensic investigations (e.g. searches for missing persons). Now, the Dutch national police is planning to use drones more often in the upcoming years. Their goal is to equip every regional unit with a drone. The units must decide for themselves when, and for what purpose, they will use their drone.

Officers will be trained in flying the drones, and in the ethical considerations that must be made when they use them. The national police is therefore developing an ethical assessment framework for the use of drones. In it, they want to include the perspectives of citizens.

This is why Waag and Het Nieuwe Trivium will be organising discussion tables, where we will use concrete examples to investigate what citizens think of drone deployment by the police, and when their opinion changes. What values underlie their opinions?

These discussion tables will provide input for an ethical framework for the police, when using drones in neighborhoods, cities and rural areas. The results of our research will be incorporated into an overview of arguments and considerations that police officers should take into account when deploying drones.

This project is a collaboration between Waag and Het Nieuwe Trivium, an organisation of philosophical practitioners. Waag supports Het Nieuwe Trivium in preparing, holding and analysing the focus group discussions.

Project duration

12 Jan 2022 - 30 Apr 2022