Published On: Sat, Nov 18th, 2023
Top Stories | 2,289 views

Chief constables want drones to be the first on crime scenes | UK | News

Chief constables want to bring about a change in the law so police are able to have an eye in the sky away from the operator’s line of sight, something which is illegal.

They could then be flown up to two miles away.

A senior figure involved in the project said it is “inevitable” that if approved they would also be used for intelligence gathering and surveillance.

Neil Sexton, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for drones, said “first responder drones” would be situated in boxes on the top of tall buildings so they could be quickly flown to the scenes of accidents, crimes, terror strikes or even hostage situations.

Incident room staff would fly the craft to provide real-time video, which could be described to officers so they have a clearer knowledge of the situation upon arrival.

A pilot scheme called Project Eagle X will use officers in Norfolk, Thames Valley and Hampshire to test FRDs in secured areas of air space.

It follows successful trials by police in San Diego, California, where a life was saved by a drone filming a suspect carrying a stick instead of a gun, as reported.

Mr Sexton said: “If you are a police officer monitoring a football match or protest, from your standing point you have to be able to see the drone the whole time.

“It’s very difficult because as the march moves off, you can’t let your drone move off as it will go behind a building and you won’t see it.

“An FRD sits autonomously on a roof somewhere and it can be launched to fly overhead of an incident and gain situational awareness.

“The outcome is better policing. It is not about invasion of privacy, it’s about making the streets safer.”

Details of the pilot emerged at the NPCC and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners annual summit in London on Thursday.

The NPCC is working with the Home Office, which has funded the pilot, and the Civil Aviation Authority over regulation changes.

Donna Jones, APCC chair, said police chiefs are in talks about drones being a “viable alternative” to helicopters.

All forces fund the National Police Air Service at a cost of more than £40million a year but Ms Jones said around a third wanted to use drones.

Source link