Tokyo police’s drone squad monitors annual marathon

By GovInsider

Drones guard the skies and relay video feeds.

Police in Tokyo used drones to monitor security during the city’s annual marathon held this weekend.

They guarded the skies above the marathon to intercept any suspicious drones that entered the area. The police set up the squad armed with nets in December, after one landed on the roof of the Prime Minister’s officer.

Another set of drones fed videos and photos from the event to the police. This was the first time that the Tokyo police used drones for a major sporting event.

Security at the Tokyo Marathon has been ramped up following the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon which injured hundreds of runners and spectators.

In a separate initiative by a private company, the event used a facial recognition system to verify the identity of runners.

Photos of 900 runners taken at the gate were matched with the photos they submitted on registration, although this was done only for 2.5% of the participants.

Securing and managing big sporting events are becoming a key area for cities in Asia. Jakarta aims to have its Smart City initiatives ready before the 2018 Asian Games, including centralising data and video feeds from across the city into a centralised operations room.