How are the Police using Drones?
For UK police forces, drone technology is now non-negotiable. Keeping drones out of the wrong hands and the wrong places is certainly a consideration, but drone technology also gives the police many advantages in their fight against crime. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of drone solutions for police…
There is a range of police activities which drones are helping with, from taking photographs of crime scenes, to investigations in rural areas and searching for missing individuals. Police forces are quickly realising the benefits of having a fleet of different drones at their disposal to aid police operations. An a recent survey conducted in November 2020 under the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that 40 of the 43 national police forces had now adopted drone technology, with over 288 drones operational across the board.
Here is an introduction to drone solutions for public safety from Sam, our UAV expert for Public Safety:
Admittedly, police using drones does sounds like science fiction. However, forces in West Yorkshire, West Midlands, Devon and Cornwall, London Metropolitan and Greater Manchester are all using drones such as the DJI Mavic Enterprise Advanced/Dual, DJI Matrice 300 and DJI Inspire.
Do emergency services need special permissions to fly drones?
You might think that your police force needs special permission to fly in UK airspace. Actually, because it saves time and money using a UAV for police work is classed as ‘commercial gain’ so permission is not required. Instead, many emergency service forces including police and firefighters across the UK have been trained by NQE training providers to achieve the required qualifications needed for a PfAW from the CAA.
Police officers must abide by the same regulations as the rest of drone pilots in the UK under CAA regulations, restricted to flying to 500m in distance. However, there is an exemption allowing up to 1000m if there is a serious threat to life.
Why do the police use drones?
Drones are a fantastic addition to the police because they are adaptable and allow the police to be dynamic and diverse. The variety of operations are broad and can be pre-planned or reactive operations. The significant cost savings of using drones outweigh any initial outlay: for helicopter services (running at costs of £1700 per hour), significant fuel cost savings are immediately obvious. Other uses include viewing the live feed of a drone-mounted HD camera to assess and document difficult terrain or dangerous situations, making them cost-effective as they save time and reduce staff risk.
Drones are also useful in highly populated scenarios where it wouldn’t be possible to deploy a helicopter and is hard for people on the ground to accurately assess a situation. For example, the London Riots a few years ago may have been able to be managed more successfully if drones had been deployed to assess crowd situations in real-time.
The National Police Air Service Helicopter and fixed-wing planes squadron already save £15m every year by having a centralised service. Using UAVs will complement their service and save even more money. Using drones to pre-assess a situation before sending a helicopter is the most obvious use. A drone can also be used solely for tasks such as missing persons and suspects searches at a far lower cost than dispatching the police helicopter.
Are you interested in how drones can aid your organisation? Why not download our FREE guide to adopting drone technology in the Public Safety sector?
Drone Solutions for Police: What drones are being used by the police in the UK?
The Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is the complete drone made for those working in the public safety & defence industry, and an essential piece of kit for any force. Like it’s predecessors, the M2EA was built to be the go-to quick response drone.
This compact quadcopter boasts a variety of performance upgrades, most importantly, the high resolution thermal and visual camera, which now supports up to 32x digital zoom. The M2EA provides the ability to locate and track targets from around 1km away. It is also now capable of centimetre-level positioning accuracy with the RTK module, making it the perfect tool for search and rescue missions.
The Sky Hero Loki MK 2 allows police officers to gather crucial intelligence of immediate threats before entering complex terrain such as dense urban areas, confined spaces and underground passages.
The Loki Mk2 is an operational support tool offering dependable methods of analysis and diffusion of videos. With extreme performance in most light conditions the camera allows users to track and anticipate target movements enabling reliable and rapid situational awareness for precise decision making.
Parrot ANAFI USA is a durable, reliable and accurate, all-mission UAV, making it an ideal drone solution for police forces across the world. It is ultra-portable meaning easy transportation, and although it is small it is a rugged drone, meaning durability is off the scale! The ANAFI USA is flight ready in 55 seconds, so police officers are able to deploy the drone as soon as needed, making response times quicker than ever before.
The M300 really is the most versatile piece of kit on the market. With a 55 minute flight time, smart tracking and advanced dual operator features, the DJI Matrice 300 RTK allows pilots to focus more consciously on their mission rather than controlling the drone.
With high payload capacity and up to 3 individual payloads mountable at once, operators need not waste time deciding what payload would be best for a mission, keeping them flexible at all times. Also being IP45 rated, the drone can be flown in most weather conditions including rain.
The M300 can make your workflows faster and more cost effective, but ultimately this drone is the perfect solution to help you save lives.
The M2ED is compact and doesn’t take up much space in the police vehicles which is important for units such as Armed Response. The M2ED is also easy to assemble and quick to deploy and in operations such as an active foot pursuit, time is of the essence. The M2ED also can be in the air extremely quickly enabling units to direct their officers on the ground.
A highly versatile quadcopter designed for easy transportation and capable of exceptional flight times of up to 40 minutes – this nifty piece of kit is vital when performing long flights. The thing that sets the AceCore Zoe apart from every other quadcopter UAV is its ability to adapt to a specific mission. The Zoe can be easily adapted to work with integrated payloads of 6.5kg. Not only is the Zoe water-resistant, it can also operable in wind gusts of up to 35 knots, meaning that officers will be able to fly in difficult terrain.
Are you ready to adopt drone technology into your organisation?
We are excited to see how drone solutions for police evolves, in particular how drones are used by the police in order to speed up operations and make them more cost effective. We regularly work with the police, army, navy, air force and other defence organisations to find the right drone solutions for their projects. We have a wide variety of commercial drones with differing capabilities, as well as the expertise to understand the aims and scope of your project and the drones that will be suitable.
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