55% 'back drone missile strike'

More than half of the British public would support the government helping in a drone missile strike if it was to target a known terrorist, according to new research.

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British public has 'sophisticated understanding' of drones

Professor Sir Michael Aaronson, director of cii, said:

This research demonstrates that the British public has a reassuringly sophisticated understanding of the benefits and dangers of the precision strike capabilities that drones provide.

They are not soft on counter-terrorism but they are uneasy about the wider foreign policy implications of the power these capabilities give Western governments.

It is important that the public is properly informed about the issues if governments are to harness the power of technology in a socially-responsible way.

– Professor Sir Michael Aaronson

'British public are clearly divided on drone use'

YouGov academic director Dr Joel Faulkner Rogers, whose research is published in Hitting the Target?, has said that the British public are divided over the use of drones.

He said:

The British public are clearly divided on whether the current use of drones is ultimately doing more harm or good to Western security.

But there's also a distinction between attitudes to the weapon and the way it's used, which go beyond binary moral judgements about 'drones good' or 'drones bad'.

A majority of Brits also support the policy, at least in principle, of targeted drone strikes against known terrorists, with many who support a view that drones can help to reduce, as well as cause, casualties if military action is required.

– Dr Joel Faulkner Roger, YouGov

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Key statistics from the report on drone strikes

A joint cii/RUSI Whitehall report has studied the debate on drones, and how much is known or understood about them by the public.

'Hitting the Target? How New Capabilities are Shaping International Intervention' found that 55% of respondents would support the government helping in a drone missile strike if it was to target a known terrorist.

Some other key statistics in the report were:

  • 67% would support a drone strike to kill a known terrorist if it could be guaranteed that no innocent civilians would be killed.
  • 32% would support the same strike if it was "likely that 10-15 innocent civilians might be killed"
  • 32% said drone strikes had made the West safer overall

55% of public 'support drone missile strike'

A Draganflyer X6 drone Credit: REUTERS/Chris Francescani

More than half of the British public would support the government helping in a drone missile strike if it was to target a known terrorist, according to new research.

The new joint study from theUniversity of Surrey's Centre for International Intervention (cii) and defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), carried out in collaboration with YouGov also found that people are far less supportive if innocent people are likely to be injured.

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