Two newly-qualified team members from Derbyshire Constabulary's police drone team were called into action less than 48 hours after completing Heliguy's Emergency Services Drone Operators Training (ES-DOT) Course - filling a vital gap in operational capability.
PC Nick Rice and PC Alex Boniface used DJI drones - supplied by Heliguy - to provide vital situational awareness of a live firearms incident and following a fatal road-traffic collision (RTC).
Thanks to the comprehensive training they received during Heliguy's ES-DOT Course - which culminated in their practical flight assessment - the officers felt confident enough to put their new skills to the test - almost immediately after passing their exam.
The crucial addition of PCs Rice and Boniface to the drone team ensured that both incidents were covered by drone, because previously there had been no weekend UAS (unmanned aircraft system) cover in the Force.
New Drone Team Members Proved Their Worth - Immediately!
Being called out less than two days after passing their drone flight assessment was very much a baptism of fire for PCs Rice and Boniface.
But despite being thrown into the deep end, the two newbies handled the situations well and demonstrated how effective a drone can be for the police.
Reflecting on the incidents, PC Tom Gee, who is part of the Derbyshire Constabulary’s Drone Team, praised their actions and thanked Heliguy for equipping the officers with the knowledge and skills to operate the drone safely and efficiently.
He said: "The two officers were deployed the weekend immediately after the Heliguy ES-DOT Course, which otherwise would have not happened due to myself and my colleague Matt not being on duty.
"PC Rice, from our roads policing team, was deployed to a live firearms warrant where he was able to use the drone to confirm if the suspect’s vehicle was at the address prior to officers moving in.
"PC Boniface, also from our roads policing team, deployed to a fatal RTC and was able to obtain scene imagery from the sky using the drone to help show the layout of the road and position of the vehicles.
"As I mentioned, Matt and I work Monday to Friday, so there would have been no drone cover over the weekend and this tactic would have not been an option. Having a greater number of officers trained around the Force gives us 24/7 capability, which means that should a drone be requested, there should be a drone pilot available to deploy."
The police officers fly under Derbyshire Constabulary’s PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operation), which was also obtained thanks to Heliguy.
Praise for Heliguy's ES-DOT Course
PCs Rice and Boniface are two of a number of officers from Derbyshire Constabulary who have completed Heliguy's ES-DOT Course. Another is PC Victoria Atherton, who became the Force's first female drone pilot. You can read more about her here.
The ES-DOT Course has been specifically designed to provide comprehensive yet succinct vocational training for the police, as well as other public-safety organisations such as the Fire and Rescue Service, Mountain Rescue and the Coastguard.
The sessions can be adapted to suit the requirements of the organisation, from a condensed theoretical course to a more comprehensive programme with progressive and practical flight training and assessment. Candidates benefit from one-to-one flight training with our experienced instructors to build competence and confidence with the procedures for their aircraft.
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.
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 trained personnel from numerous public safety organisations, including Cumbria Constabulary, Lincolnshire Police and North Wales Police.
PC Gee said: "The training delivered by the Heliguy team was fantastic, as always. I cannot recommend them enough. The Heliguy trainers worked tirelessly in making sure everyone was up to the standard and I was very grateful that they all passed.
"I would say the Heliguy ES-DOT Course is essential for the emergency services, as it allows a large number of officers to be trained all in one location locally without having to send them away at different times. It also has the added benefit that it allows anyone to go from a complete novice to a level of competence.
“It is great to see that PCs Rice and Boniface, and other officers that have been through Heliguy’s ES-DOT course, have had the confidence and ability to deploy so quickly after passing their assessment. This has been down to the dedication of the Heliguy training team in making sure that the officers have all of the knowledge and skills they need to be able to deploy the drone confidently.”
To complement the ES-DOT course, Heliguy also offers Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training to further enhance pilot expertise and to ensure they are flying to a high standard and in strict accordance with the rules and regulations. To find out more, click here.
Drones Are A Major Asset To The Police
Drones have become a go-to tool for police, with forces deploying them for a range of missions. These include:
To read more about how drones are benefiting police operations, click here.
Derbyshire Constabulary is utilising drone technology for a range of missions and has deployed the fleet in conjunction with Mountain Rescue and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue. By using drones, the Force says that it has reduced the need to outsource and use NPAS (National Police Air Service).
The most high-profile example of Derbyshire Constabulary using drones came at the start of August when they deployed to Whaley Bridge, following the partial collapse of the dam wall. The drones were used to provide unique and real-time views of the incident, keep residents informed of the situation and to patrol the town after it had been evacuated, amid concerns that the empty houses were being targeted by burglars. Read the full story here.
Heliguy is a DJI Gold Partner and has more than 40 UK emergency services on its books. With this in mind, which DJI drones are available to support the invaluable work of the emergency services?
The M200 Series V2 is a popular choice. These drones, with an enhanced control system and flight safety and data security features, can be integrated with a range of first-class cameras/sensors, including the Zenmuse DJI Z30 zoom camera - great for surveillance thanks to its 30x optical and 6x digital zoom - and the Zenmuse DJI XT2 thermal camera, which is ideal for finding missing people or detecting hotspots in a fire.
The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise (Zoom) is another valuable aircraft for the emergency services. This lightweight drone is quickly deployable, easily transportable and comes with three key accessories - a spotlight, loudspeaker and beacon - which can greatly assist a range of missions. The Mavic 2 Enterprise also benefits from a 2x optical and 3x digital zoom camera, meaning the drone can operate without putting the operator in danger.
Following the launch of the Mavic 2 Enterprise, DJI released the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, which comes with thermal capabilities.