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UK’s first police drone unit launched with flying cameras hunting for missing people, crime scenes and major crashes

Jul 17, 2017
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The country’s first police drone unit has launched with six sophisticated thermal image cameras able to zoom in and record crime scenes.

Using the latest high-tech drone technology the camera records video and still images in HD/4K quality and offers 24 hour a day coverage.

Officers will use the drones to hunt for missing people, to photograph crimes and to get to scenes of major road crashes quickly.

The unit, which is a joint venture by Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police, has been trialling the drones for more than 18 months.

It now has five officers trained with a further 40 aiming to complete their Civil Aviation Authority accreditation in the next year.

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The drone is a high-tech DJI Inspire

Officers are accredited by the Civil Aviation Authority

Chief Superintendent Jim Nye, commander for the Alliance Operations Department, said: “This is an historic step for the alliance and policing in the UK; Drone capability is a cutting edge way to support operational policing across Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

“This technology offers a highly cost effective approach in supporting our officers on the ground in operational policing.

“Drones will aid officers as part of missing person searches; crime scene photography; responding to major road traffic collisions; coastal and woodland searches and to combat wildlife crime.

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“Drones can even help police track and monitor suspects during a firearm or terrorist incident, as it will allow officers to gain vital information, quickly, safely, and allow us to respond effectively at the scene.”

Drone team manager Andy Hamilton, said: “It is fantastic to see both forces working together to lead the way in utilising new, cutting-edge technology.

The unit is the first of its kind in the UK

Missing people are hunted with these drones

” Having previously been a police officer for 30 years, I have seen how technology has changed and can help us become more efficient in what we are trying to achieve.

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“An example of this is historically, any aerial photos or videos have been captured by The National Police Air Service helicopter; this is not always the best use of resources.

“Instead of always sending a helicopter on an hour’s flight to take a few photos of a crime scene, we can now use a drone to carry out the same task.”

The forces hope to have a further 40 officers trained in the next year

The unit is currently using a DJI Inspire drones and also have a smaller DJI Mavic to test its portability – due to it being smaller and lighter in weight.

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