Anyone who watches those live news feed depicting police cars and copters running down a suspect knows that a bird’s eye view makes for a powerful crime-busting tool.
When it comes to providing that edge to law enforcement, drones have the right stuff – improving rescue efforts, fire assessments and police investigations.
West Midlands Police have unveiled a pilot program to monitor football matches in an effort to identify hooligans and quell game-related violence, especially when heated rivalries (like Birmingham City and Aston Villa) begin to smolder.
Although the WMPD obtained official permission to deploy drones, British Civil Aviation Authority rules prohibit direct stadium flyovers. Police officials say, however, that drone flights over surrounding areas can still play a role in stopping hooliganism.
“This technology is fantastic and has real benefits to modern day policing,” Sgt. Keith Holliday told the Birmingham Mail. “This is the first time West Midlands Police have used a drone in policing a big derby game and it can play an important role in ensuring the safety of the public.”
A police drone user in the field can transmit footage back to WMPD’s command center to be analyzed. Police officials added they would “take action against those involved in crime who haven’t been arrested [on game day].”
An Australian Member of Parliament wants state police in Queensland to launch drones to battle higher crime rates.
MP Scott Stewart of Townsville (not the Power Puff Girls one) presented a recommendation to Queensland’s police minister, stating that police drones would cost taxpayers much less than helicopters and have a quicker launch time in a crisis.
Police in New South Wales in March announced a plan to fund 100 drones with 60 pilots in an effort to replace costly manned aircraft missions.
Using a $66,000 (AUS) grant, the department has already tested a pilot program using seven pilots and several DJI Inspire drones
3. United States
In September, the Unmanned Safety Institute (USI) cemented a partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police to train police in Florida to pilot and operate drones safely. A key component of the effort included a workshop in November titled “Responding to UAS Intrusions.”
“This partnership between FOP and USI allows us to offer innovative and real-world training to law enforcement officers throughout Florida who encounter this threat every day,” said Shawn Dunlap, FOP Orlando chapter president. “Drone use continues to proliferate, and we are ready to support our law enforcement community with training that is relevant and practical.”