Devon and Cornwall Police launch UK's first operational drone unit
PUBLISHED: 14:50 14 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:50 14 July 2017
The unit has been launched after a successful trial from November 2015.
Devon and Cornwall Police has become one of the first forces in the UK to launch a fully operational drone unit.
Devon and Cornwall and Dorset have been working together to trial drone technology since November 2015, and the benefit has led to the unit being established.
The drones will help officers as part of missing person searches, crime scene photography and responding to major traffic collisions.
Chief Superintendent and commander for the alliance operations department Jim Nye, said the launch was a ‘historic step for police in the UK’.
He added:“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.
“Being the first police forces in the country to have a stand-alone, fully operational drone unit is a great source of pride for the Alliance, and proves that we continue to work hard to find innovative ways to adapt to the ever-changing policing landscape.”
During their trial period, the drones have been used to capture the scale of the Exeter fire in October last year.
They were also on hand to capture the crowds at GoldCoast Oceanfest.
The team’s manager, Andy Hamilton, said eventually they could be used to complement the National Police Air Service helicopter.
The team can be found on Twitter under the handle @PoliceDrones, where they keep the public informed about when and where the devices are being used.
There are current six drones in operational use, but plans are in place to increase the amount of trained officers from five to 40.
Chief Supt Nye said more drones would be added as the number of trained officers increases.