A round-the-clock drone unit has been launched by the Devon and Cornwall police force, to help them tackle and keep down crime. A ‘drone team manager’ was advertised for by nine policing centres across the two counties and Dorset, to come and set up and manage an ‘operational and dynamic drone response’.
Back in November 2015 the forces began trialling drones to test the operational effectiveness, using four DJI Inspire 1 devices with high-definition cameras to assist officers with police matters such as looking for missing people and taking crime scene photographs.
Steve Barry, Assistant Head Chief Constable at the National Police Chief’s Council lead for drones, said: “Forces are committed to embracing new technologies to deliver high-quality, cost- effective services and protection to the public.”
"Drones are one of a number of options that can deliver air support both now and in the future.
"They have the potential to change the way we police by working with other technologies and updating traditional methods of foot and aerial patrols.
"Trials and consultations are ongoing to develop more guidance for how the police service can use drones to help keep people safe."
Mr Barry also commented: "Deploying drones is a decision for individual chief constables who ensure that they are used appropriately in the interest of public safety and efficient allocation of police resources."
It is reported that over 20 police forces are experimenting with this technology.
Drones would be a “significant piece of kit”, Chief Superintendent Jim Nye, strategic alliance commander for operations in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset reported, adding that it would provide an “opportunity to improve technology available to police officers to do better what we do.”
Labour MP Nick Smith earlier this year had made comments that police should consider using drones to follow, and track down off-road bikers vandalising the mountains of Wales.
Nick Smith also said during Home Office Questions in the Commons: "Because off-road bikers often go where the police cannot, can the Home Office look into providing resources, agreement and licencing on the use of drones to help us tackle this problem?"