As drone technology becomes more widely adopted by public safety organisations, the way the kit is being used has also developed tremendously. In 2022, we will be starting our ‘monthly roundup’ series, where we look back on the month’s achievements, developments and best stories from the public safety sector.
So… what’s been going on??
West Mids Police Arrest 4 Males by Using Drone
One of the most common use cases for drones in policing is providing overhead support for on the ground officers. Conventionally, operations have relied on intel that has been obtained several minutes or hours ahead of being started. A thermal camera on a drone can clarify whether there is activity surrounding a building, meaning officers can be notified when people are entering or leaving.
It also provides good insight into the number of potential suspects in a property so that on the ground officers can get further clarity on the type of environment to expect when commencing their mission.
The last week of January saw West Mids drone unit assisting Wolverhampton police and West Mids firearms in detaining and arresting 4 males Wolverhampton.
Our pilots assisting @WolvesPolice and @firearmsWMP in locating and detaining four males, who had been seen in possession of a machete. Utilising the thermal camera on the @DJIGlobal #mavicadvanced #dronesforgood #saferstreets pic.twitter.com/k2kogCtKxY
— WMP Eye in the Sky (@dronesWMP) January 29, 2022
The drone was used to survey the area and provide overhead support for the ground team as they carried out the operation.
The four men had allegedly been seen in possession of a machete, but the officers were able to detain the suspects without any injury.
Lincolnshire Police and Fire Tackle Hemswell Fires
A large fire is currently being treated by Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire fire and rescue after around 30,000 hay bales caught alight. The fire began around 13:00 on Thursday 27th January, which subsequently spread due to strong winds caused by Storm Malik.
Credit: Lincolnshire Police Drones
Lincolnshire Police have since become involved in tackling the fire by providing aerial support using their drone. Operators are able to use the thermal camera on a drone to capture data and understand whether a fire is spreading or slowing down. This will give the teams a better understanding of how to best mitigate the situation, as well as give vital information on whether the surrounding environment is at risk.
Currently a local fireworks factory is being shielded by support sent from Nottinghamshire, while residents are being told to stay at home and keep their doors and windows closed.
Dog Rescued by Drone & Sausage Combo in Hampshire
‘Millie’ was rescued from mudflats near Portsmouth after being missing for 4 days. Police, fire, and coastguard teams had been working constantly in an endeavour to rescue the Jack Russell whippet but were running out of options as they could not coax her towards them.
That’s when one rescuer had the idea of dangling a sausage from a drone to entice Millie away from the rising tides.
Credit: The Guardian
Chris Taylor, chair of Denmead Drone SAR team, told The Guardian “One of the local residents on the beach where we were flying from supplied us with the sausages […] The woman cooked them up for us and we attached them with string”
“If we hadn’t got her away from that area the tide would have come in and she would have been at risk of drowning […] It was something we had never tried before – the sausages were the last resort”
Emma Oakes, the dog’s owner said “Relief just poured over me. It was just absolutely fantastic to have her home”
Avon & Somerset Police Arrest Man After 17-Hour Stand-Off
A dramatic 17-hour came to calm ending as Avon & Somerset Police arrested a 39-year-old man at his home in Weston. The incident kicked off at around 11:00 on Tuesday 25th December after the officers arrived at the address to arrest the male.
More than 20 homes were evacuated as the area became cordoned off while the situation unfolded. Drone, Firearm, medical and fire personnel all arrived on scene while trained negotiators attempted to de-escalate the situation.
Credit: Paul Gillis
Drone pilots kept watch overhead as the stand-off ensued, using drones such as the DJI Matrice 300 RTK.
Chief Inspector Scott Hill said: “Throughout the night, highly trained negotiators have been working as part of our multi-agency response to bring this incident to a safe conclusion.”
West Midlands Police Arrest 2 Men in Relation to £2.5m Cannabis Factory
Drone footage shows the moment that 2 men fleeing arrest were caught by police in Birmingham. The drug bust took place in the morning of 7th January, after a warrant was obtained for the operation.
This morning @dronesWMP assisted in the execution of a drugs warrant at a suspected Cannabis factory in Birmingham. Around 3000 – 4000 plants discovered worth approximately 2.5 million pounds. Two persons fled from the property but were quickly detained by officers on the ground. pic.twitter.com/lyeMyuRkb6
— WMP Eye in the Sky (@dronesWMP) January 7, 2022
Between 3,000 and 4,000 plants were discovered at the suspect Cannabis factory in the city Birmingham city centre. The drone footage shows the two men fleeing from the scene but are soon confronted by oncoming officers. Estimates from the investigation value the farm at around £2.5 million.
Credit: DroneXL (Image not from this specific case)
Drones can also play a key role in the detection of cannabis farms, with heat signatures being detectable through drone thermal cameras. Drone footage can be used as significant evidence and intelligence to support applications for search warrants.
Still not sure how you should be using drones? Don’t Worry!
In their third feature of this article, we bring you another great bit of content from West Midlands Police.
Their most recent release on their YouTube channel showcases a snippet into how they are using drone technology (keep up the great work guys!)
Make sure you watch to the end:
Credit: West Midlands Police
Want to get more information on how to get the best out of your drones?
Contact our UAV strategist, Danny Wilson!
Have you got any success stories that you’d like to be featured in next month’s roundup?
Contact us to share your successes!