Home Police Notices Durham Durham Police to start using drones later this year

Durham Police to start using drones later this year

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Durham Constabulary is to start deploying unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly known as ‘drones’ – to help with operational policing.

Mick and drone
Mick and drone

The force is in the process of obtaining the relevant authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority to begin using the two devices it currently owns.

The plan is for the drones to be used in a variety of ways such as helping searches for missing persons, providing footage to assist operational contingency planning and reconaissance of buildings or locations suspected to be used by criminal gangs.

It’s also thought the devices could be used at incidents – for example, traffic disruption – when the police helicopter is unavailable or may not be able to fly due to poor weather.

Insp Mick Button, force lead for the research and planning into the use of the drones (pictured) said formal training would begin this summer to authorise a small number of officers to use them.

The CAA imposes strict conditions on how drones can be used, such as a requirement they must fly to a maximum of 400 feet and the operator must keep the drone in their sights at all times.

Test footage, taken recently showing the old police HQ (now demolished) can be seen here

Technical details:

The force will be mainly using a MUVI X-Drone from Veho – an international company with its UK headquarters in Hampshire.

The drone is able to record 1080p high definition video and take 16MP photos using the stabilised and controllable on-board camera. It can be flown using the X-Drone app on either IOS or Android and can fly up to 20 minutes at a time.

It weighs just 1.4kg and can climb at speeds up to six metres per second

An in-built GPS function means the drone can return to its launch point if control is lost, or if it detects a low battery.

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