Cumbria Police, September 01, 2015 - Police in Cumbria will now be able to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to help tackle crime and keep people safe.
Earlier this year, staff from the Constabulary’s Operational Support Unit purchased two UAVs in order to assess the benefits of using them as an operational resource. Rigorous testing has taken place and they have already been used in a number of missing person searches to great effect.
The UAVs, which cost £2,300 each, will provide 4K, FHD and HD footage to officers. An officer will control the aircraft from the ground, in line of sight, using a portable console from up to 500 metres away.
The officers will be using the equipment in line with the current Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations.
Chief Inspector Matt Kennerley, from the Operational Support Unit, said: “The benefit of using UAVs to assist police operations has already been proven in other police force areas and we believe this is going to be an innovative and cost-effective resource that will enable officers to save lives and tackle criminal activity.
“The UAVs will help collect evidence and monitor events from a distance which would help us detect crime and prosecute offenders. The UAVs can also be deployed into situations where deploying patrols would put members of the public or officers themselves at risk.
“Previously the only way officers in Cumbria could gain aerial assistance was to call out a police helicopter from the National Police Air Service. This would not only be a costly resource for the force but it can also be time-consuming. The use of the UAVs however provides a solution to this problem.
“UAVs will only be deployed when required and they will not replace patrols. They are an effective resource that provides police with an efficient air advantage.”
As part of their introduction to policing in the county, the Constabulary is running a competition which is open to members of the public to provide a suitable call sign name for the UAVs. The winners of the competition will be able to meet officers and see the UAVs in action as well as been awarded their own Faze ultra-small quadcopters. The quadcopters were donated by Quadcopters Ltd, the company which the Force purchased the operational UAVs from.
To enter please send your call sign name and your details to firstname.lastname@example.org. The completion will close on Monday 21st September. Applicants must be aged 14 or over due to the quadcopters age restriction.
Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes said:
“The way that we police is changing and it is good to see the Constabulary embracing technology with the UAVs.”