Police drone takes to the sky

Drone-2 (1) copy (1)

Cheshire Constabulary has a new piece of kit, the force's drone officially takes to the sky from today (Monday 24 August).

The Matrice 300RTK drone, which is also known as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), will equip the frontline with a useful tool that can support officers in their daily duties.

The force has recruited and trained up a team of officers who make up the Drone Support Unit, which includes three officers and a sergeant.

The unit is based at the headquarters in Winsford and will assist with:

• Searching for missing and wanted people
• Aerial imagery and reconstruction of road traffic collisions
• Aerial imagery for crime scene investigations
• Protests and disorder
• Identification of cannabis farms
• Event management planning

Chief Inspector Gareth Wrigley said: "A few short months ago the unit formed, and the team have been working hard to get to this point, where the drone can officially take to the skies to assist with frontline policing.

"I want to reassure the public that the drone will not be used for general surveillance and will only be used for incidents and operations.

"Having drone capability will make a huge difference in the way we protect vulnerable people and gather critical evidence at scenes. This is a really exciting time for the Constabulary which will increase our tactical options to help make Cheshire even safer."

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane, said: "Police currently use the National Air Support Service (NPAS) for all its aerial requirements such as search and photography. Although manned aircraft will always be required for some operational activities, there are opportunities, such as when aerial photography alone is required, that drones would be more suitable, quicker to deploy and more cost-effective.

"The drone will bring huge benefits to frontline policing in Cheshire and I am really pleased that the force is now in a position to start using the drones on a day-to-day basis to help keep the public of Cheshire safe."

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Marcia McGrail
Thursday 27th August 2020 at 10:46 am
The police need all resources necessary to protect the laws of the land and those of us who can't. The silent majority of law-abiding folk with nothing to hide will applaud the deployment of this piece of kit in pursuit of inhabitants of the criminal community. My only concern would be for those that have to work nights, whose struggles to rest adequately during the day are already hindered by noisy, inconsiderant neighbours, blaring sirens, slamming car doors...to have a drone buzzing outside might just be the final straw?
David Smith
Thursday 27th August 2020 at 11:23 am
About time and a great idea - if we aim to have a drone in every town. A drone would be ideal for spotting parking offences and quickly directing 'Traffic Wardens' to the offending vehicle with maximum efficiency. Drones can do almost as much as a helicopter but for less cost and often with less of a 'footprint' so appearing less visible.
For once a step forward and taxpayer's money well spent.
When do we get ours in Wilmslow?
Vince Chadwick
Thursday 27th August 2020 at 7:54 pm
The drone and its operator will be a useful tool in aerial policing as described in the article, often saving the expense of using a helicopter while being more stealthy. But you don't need to go to the expense of employing a drone operator and drone for something as simple as locating illegally parked cars.

Traffic wardens walking the streets can do that, so that's what we need.
David Smith
Saturday 29th August 2020 at 8:44 am
A drone can very quickly do an aerial reconnaissance of a large area to see where cars are parked illegally. The locations could be passed to a 'traffic warden' who can nip round in a small car and deal with the offenders. The present system relies on perhaps just one warden wandering around town and looking for offenders who see them coming. By having 'eyes' in the sky above town he can be informed where to go in a manner that is not possible by just 'WALKING THE STREETS'. This would not be the primary use for a drone but an example of how it could be put to good use when there is no other requirement when it might otherwise be sat on the ground. Any time it is in the air is also good training and experience for the controller who might otherwise not be doing much. The same information could also be passed to traffic wardens from CCTV cameras but I suppose there will always be those who complain about 'big brother' and data protection or whatever.
Such a use would admittedly be at the lower level of policing duties but a use that would occasionally help in maintaining a level of social responsibility that recently seems to have gone AWOL.

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