Over the past 12 months, Cheshire Constabulary's Drone Unit has been offering operational support to officers and staff across the force, helping to catch offenders and keep communities safer.
Based at the force Headquarters in Winsford, the police drones took to the skies 1,576 times in 2023, being deployed to all manner of incidents and events across the county, including:
- Missing persons
- Suspect searches
- Fatal collisions
- Public order and public safety events, including football matches and Creamfields
- Road traffic operations
- Cannabis cultivation (utilising built in thermal image cameras)
- Providing an overview and greater situational awareness of firearms incidents
In the 12 months to 1 January 2024, the Drone Unit spent 292.5 hours patrolling the skies of Cheshire and flying over 1,122 miles - which is the equivalent distance from the gates of HQ in Winsford to Slovakia.
Throughout 2023, the drone team searched over 33,885 acres of land, locating 50 high risk missing people and aiding the arrest of 216 offenders.
Sergeant Darren Mundey, who leads the unit, said "The Drone Unit is one of the newer teams here at Cheshire Constabulary and the team have continued to work hard, assisting frontline policing in managing large-scale events and warrants as well as locating missing and wanted people.
"Having drone capability makes a huge difference in the way we protect vulnerable people and gather critical evidence at scenes. Having the ability to use our drones, provides a more cost-effective alternative to NPAS that increases our tactical options in continuing to keep Cheshire a hostile place for criminals."