Heliguy helps South Yorkshire Police expand drone provision

Heliguy has delivered specialist training to South Yorkshire Police to help the Force expand its drone fleet and offer 24/7 UAV coverage.

The award-winning North of England-based drone expert put 19 officers through their paces on a five-day ES-DOT (Emergency Services Drone Operators Training) course last week in Doncaster.

The ES-DOT course offers specifically tailored UAS training for the emergency services, helping trainees attain the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical ability to enable them to fly under an existing PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) – in this case, South Yorkshire Police’s existing permission. 

Heliguy will be able to provide these pilots future and continued support through its CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training scheme. 

The comprehensive ES-DOT tuition involved tutor-led sessions covering a range of legislation and regulations – including Air Law, Deployment Planning and Airspace Management – as well as an exam and practical flight assessments.

“By the end of the course, they will all be professional trained commercial drone operators authorised to operate as police drone operators,” – Ben Shirley, UAS Instructor at Heliguy 

South Yorkshire Police is growing its drone fleet to cover a range of missions, from crowd monitoring to search operations. The pilot training was a key part in the expansion of the UAV division.

Heliguy’s instructors have been fantastic and have made the training engaging and interesting 



PC Gordon Sitch, South Yorkshire Police

The training has received plenty of media attention, including from BBC Look North (Yorkshire), the Doncaster Free Press and industry website Commercial Drone Professional.

Ben Shirley, UAS instructor for Heliguy, delivering the course. Picture courtesy of South Yorkshire Police

Heliguy’s ES-DOT Course

Heliguy’s ES-DOT tuition has been specifically designed to provide comprehensive yet succinct vocational training for organisations such as the Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance, Mountain Rescue and the Coast Guard. It is also suitable for control centre support staff involved in the deployment of UAS. 

The course can be adapted to suit the requirements of the organisation, from a condensed theoretical course to a more comprehensive course with practical flight training.

Candidates will benefit from one-to-one flight training with our experienced instructors to build competence and confidence with the procedures for their aircraft.

Find out more about Heliguy’s ES-DOT course

An additional air law module is offered to ensure our candidates are fully prepared to use the CAA Exemption for Emergency Services (E4506) and its practical application.

Our candidates will gain valuable exposure to the considerations and procedures that must be used to ensure safety when operating their aircraft in a manner that is outside the normal operating limits.

Heliguy has a track record of delivering the ES-DOT course, having previously trained Police Forces such as Cumbria, Lincolnshire and North Wales. 

Thoughts on the training

South Yorkshire Police has decided to invest in drones. But to do this, it needs drone pilots. And this is where Heliguy stepped in, helping to arm officers with the tools and knowledge to fly UAVs.

Ben Shirley, UAS instructor at Heliguy, puts officers through their paces. Picture from South Yorkshire Police

And the feedback has been very positive.

The week was intense for our officers, but a brilliant experience from start to finish. Heliguy’s instructors were fantastic and made the training engaging and interesting. We are very proud of our trainee pilots for the hard work they have put in.



PC Gordon Sitch
Officers from South Yorkshire Police learning the ropes about drones. Picture from South Yorkshire Police  

Speaking to the BBC, PC Wes Turner said that learning how to fly a drone was a steep learning curve, but was enjoying the process, while PC Mike Ramsden said that it was good to be trying something different and learning new skills.  

South Yorkshire Police’s Expanding Drone Fleet

Led by the Airport Policing Group at Doncaster, South Yorkshire Police’s drone provision began last year, with the acquisition of two UAVs, specifically to provide flexible coverage of Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s airfield in the event of an incident.

But funding has since been approved to expand the Force’s fleet of drones from two to eight, which will be deployed routinely for a variety of operations.

South Yorkshire Police has purchased all of its drones from Heliguy

The Force will have 24/7 drone coverage and the aircraft will be able to be deployed to help officers with a variety of operations, including:

  • Search operations, including missing person searches;
  • Major incidents;
  • Crowd monitoring at sporting events, parades, concerts and festivals;
  • Proactive operations, including warrants.

“The drone is able to cover a lot of ground very quickly and more effectively than on foot. It is able to use zoom lenses and thermal cameras which can pin-point people quickly,” – South Yorkshire Police

Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley says increasing the Force’s drone capability is an exciting step.

This technology brings huge opportunity to improve our service to our communities. By developing our fleet, we will have another flexible and highly adaptable resource to help us in a range of spontaneous and pre-planned operations, giving us that extra dimension of a controlled oversight to inform what is happening and what best the Police can do. This really will help us in keeping our communities safe.



Assistant Chief Constable, David Hartley 

South Yorkshire Police has already made arrests thanks to its drone division

Among the drones that South Yorkshire Police has purchased from Heliguy is the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, which features a three-axis gimbal-stabilised camera housing a side-by-side 4K sensor for capturing visible light and a FLIR Lepton thermal microcamera for capturing thermal data.

The lightweight, foldable and easily-transportable Dual also comes with three accessories – a loudspeaker, spotlight and beacon. 

These payloads, plus the drone’s thermal capabilities, make it ideal for a range of missions, including search operations. 

For more information about which drones will best help you, visit the Heliguy website

South Yorkshire Police isn’t the only Force to be using drones. To find out how drones are helping Police Forces across the UK, read our previous blog post by clicking here.

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