In the first week of a six-month, police-drone partnership, the Warwickshire and West Mercia departments deployed drone teams to view traffic accidents, pursue a car-theft suspect and search for a missing person.
“During the first week of the trial – despite challenging wet and windy weather conditions – the drone has helped us gather evidence by taking aerial photographs of road traffic collisions and also assisted officers search an area by providing an aerial view that can be viewed from the ground,” Inspector Damian Sowrey said in media reports.
While Sowrey is enthusiastic about the potential for drone use, he stresses that his department will keep public safety concerns in focus and adhere to all CAA rules. Both departments use the drones stationed in West Mercia and neither have yet decided if they will separately take the drone plunge. The recent maiden voyage, however, is encouraging.
Meanwhile in Dorset, police commissioner Martyn Underhill says UAVs may have more benfit to police operations than did the introduction of police-band radios in the 60s. Like Warwickshire/West Mercia, his department has partnered with Devon and Cornwall to deploy four drones for traffic wreck reporting, mapping and crime scene videos. And also like their colleagues, Underhill’s officers pilot UAVs in a missing-person case.
“Policing needs to be at the forefront of technology and quick to embrace innovation,” Underhill told the Dorset Echo. “I believe drones have the capability to revolutionize the way we police in this country in a similar way, whilst saving a substantial amount of public money.”
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.
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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