Even as American public-safety agencies grapple with the decision to deploy or not to deploy drones amid regulatory uncertainties, officials in England are moving ahead with several trials that may see UAVs as a normal tool in their efforts to protect and save lives.
Police in Devon and Cornwall began a six-month trial with two drones officials say will be used to look for missing persons, assist police at crime scenes and traffic accidents as well as general aerial photography.
“Drones are cost effective. The main costs involved in attending the scenes are the fuel for the traffic response vehicle to transport them and the cost of charging the batteries,” Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg told The Daily Star. He added that drone deployment will also mean that “fewer officers are needed to attend an incident, meaning officers can be deployed somewhere else where they are needed.”
The Daily Star points out that more than 25 percent of police forces in Wales and England say they plan to introduce drones into the mix as well.
Meanwhile in Surrey, the county’s volunteer search-and-rescue team recently announced a partnership with the local police to deploy drones to find missing persons – especially children or those suffering dementia. The service uses twin DJI Phantom 3 UAVs to scan a specific area and stream high-def video including thermal imaging.
“Drones offer many benefits that complement the National Police Air Service Helicopter,” project leader Simon Green told GetSurrey news.
“This technology offers a highly cost effective approach to missing person search and situational awareness during flooding or water rescues,” he added.
In Cambridgeshire, police have launched a trial drone deployment of several 3DR quadcopters along with partner forces in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. The drones will be deployed for “armed sieges, road crash investigations, airport security, missing persons searches and the surveillance of the outside of buildings – plus anything else police deem appropriate,” according to the Cambridge News.
“The technology is being tested across the three counties and a decision on their long-term use will be made later in the year,” a police spokesperson told the media, adding the UAVS could be used for “open country searches of missing persons, exterior building searches, to assist with road crash investigations, airport security site assessments, armed patrols [and] sieges.” The police force plans to buy 2-3 more drones this year and train 10-12 pilots.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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