The UK's first, fully operational, police drone unit deploys in the South West

Two police forces in the UK have teamed up to deploy the country’s first operational drone police unit.

The Devon & Cornwall Police and the Dorset Police have been trialing the usage of drones for their respective units since November of 2015. Finally, after all the testing, the DJI Inspire, as well as DJI Maveric drones, will be used full time in a number of roles to support the police in the area.

Recently the South Wales Police made an arrest using a police van fitted with a facial recognition camera, and the Dubai Police have also just shown off their miniature police robot car that can deploy its own drone, so it seems drone and other tech is really catching on with modern policing.

The new drone unit has been deployed because of the ability of the drones to offer a rapid, high-quality, live feed from the air, in both 4K as well as thermal imagery. The combined police in the Dorset, Cornwall, and Devon areas find that this is a great asset for trying to find missing persons in general, but also in coastal and wooded areas, for traffic incidents and management, crime scene photography, and finally the drones can also track suspects in any major firearm or terrorist incident.

Prior to the drone unit, the police in the area would have called in a helicopter crew from the National Police Air Service, which is fine, but it would cost £800 an hour for that crew, whereas the purchase cost of one of the drones is only £2,000. So if the police only need some aerial pictures of a crime scene, they can literally save hundreds of pounds every time if they use the drone unit instead of the helicopter.

The capability and cost arguments of using drones as a part of a police force are clearly hard to argue against, so it’s inevitable that we will see them being deployed with more police forces around the world.

Sources: Devon and Cornwall Police, Sky News | Images via Devon and Cornwall Police

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