Drones have become increasingly popular recently – The unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are often used to provide video and photos from the air.
Police in Devon and Cornwall will be having a 6 month trial of drones to aid officers in a number of policing matters including missing people searches and crime scene photography.
The trial starts today (2nd November) and Police will be able to use the services of two DJI Inspire 1 Drone. One drone will be based in Exeter, the other in Plymouth.
Inspector Andy Hamilton who is heading up the trial said: “Drones offer many benefits that complement the National Police Air Service (NPAS) Helicopter. This technology offers a potentially highly cost effective approach to missing person searches, crime scene photography, and responding to major road traffic collisions.
“Using a drone to capture footage on difficult terrain and hard to reach areas such as cliffs, woodland or the moors to find a missing person, combat wildlife crime or even a firearm incident, will allow officers to gain vital information, quickly, safely, and allow us to respond effectively at the scene.”
Civil Aviation (CAA) regulations state that drone operators must pass a national CAA accredited qualification. Currently the Force has three trained operators in place for the trial, including Inspector Hamilton, and there are plans to train further officers should the trial prove to be a success.
Insp Hamilton added: “This technology still has its limitations; the models we are trialling are currently unable to fly at night or in adverse weather, but having the option to put a drone in the air in a few minutes’ notice could help save lives.
“Both drones have a HD downlink which means officers on the ground can see live footage captured by the drone in the air. It can stay in the air for up to 18 minutes at a time before returning to the operator to change batteries. Each drone has several batteries and therefore can be kept operational for a prolonged period of time if required.”
You will be able to follow the drones on twitter @DC_PoliceDrones for information and footage of the drones in action.