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. According to an independent study from HMICFRS (March 2017) “over 65% of UK ‘police forces ‘had either purchased at least one drone or had ready access to one,’ this number has grown exponentially and drones are now an integral part of police operations throughout the UK.
Here is an introduction to drone solutions for police from Sam, our UAV expert for Public Safety:
Admittedly, police using drones does sounds like science fiction. However, forces in Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Warwickshire, and West Mercia have all trialled the use of drones like the DJI Inspire 1 and the 3DR Solo.
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.
The one caveat to permissions and a current difficulty for police forces using drones is that they can only be used in daylight. However, forces remain optimistic that night ration permissions will soon be granted.
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, 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 such as the DJI Inspire 1 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.
Drone Solutions for Police: What drones are being used by the police in the UK?
Parrot Anafi Thermal
A small, quick and effective drone best used in fast response situations. The drone camera is used to find Missing Persons, track down targets on the move and one police force is even using the thermal camera to find Cannabis Farms by locating high levels of heat from an aerial view.
DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual
The M2E is compact and doesn’t take up much space in the police vehicles which is important for units such as Armed Response. The M2E is also easy to assemble and quick to deploy and in operations such as an active foot pursuit, time is of the essence. The M2E also can be in the air extremely quickly enabling units to direct their officers on the ground.
Flyability Elios 2
The ELIOS 2 is being used by police forces to explore high-risk buildings during operations before deploying police officers. The drones in these scenarios are being used to protect police officers from possible armed confrontations and alerting the suspect before the officers can make an arrest. The drone is also used for inspecting confined places that are too difficult for officers to access.
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.
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.
We spoke to COPTRZ UAV Strategist Sam Denniff about the benefits of using the Parrot Anafi Thermal in the Emergency Services
Having only launched last year, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is set to be an essential item in any police force’s kit. With high resolution thermal and visual cameras, the M2EA supports up to 32x digital zoom and is capable of centimetre-level positioning accuracy with the RTK module, making it the perfect tool for search and rescue missions.
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, airforce 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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