More police forces in the UK are trialling police drones. This week Devon and Cornwall Police began a six month experiment with DJI Inspire 1 aircraft and they've already been put to use. Neighbouring Dorset will join in later this month (November 26th) and Midlands forces Warwickshire and West Mercia are due to start their trials in the new year. Earlier this year we reported how heliguy™ had helped Cumbria Police to get airborne with two Inspires.
We provided training for a team of officers at our Newcastle headquarters. Devon and Cornwall also have two Inspires, one in Plymouth, the other at Exeter. Within 24 hours one was deployed to to help in the search for a missing woman in the Plymouth area and the next day another mission was flown on the A39 near Truro in Cornwall to take stills at the scene of a serious road accident.
One of Devon and Cornwall Police's DJI Inspires.
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 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.”
Inspector Hamilton is one of three officers who are trained to Civil Aviation Authority standards and, if the trial is successful, more officers will be trained. The officers' qualifications don't allow them to fly the drones at night and the Inspires aren't able to fly in rain and strong winds. Insp Hamilton added: “This technology still has its limitations but having the option to put a drone in the air in a few minutes’ notice could help save lives.
“Both drones have an 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.”
A new twitter account has been created @DC_PoliceDrones which will keep the public informed about where and when the drone is in operational use within Devon and Cornwall, as well as sharing operational footage and images of the drone in action.
You can read about Cumbria Police's drones in an earlier blog.
heliguy™ training for you
heliguy™ offers a 4 day training course for pilots who want to earn a living from this exciting form of flying. With UAVs being used increasingly for inspection work, mapping and surveys as well as movie making and photography, now's the time to get your Civil Aviation Authority qualification or Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW). We also offer tailor-made courses for organisations such as police forces, fire and rescue services, oil, gas and electricity companies.