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WATCH: South-west police to run 24-hour drones unit

WATCH: South-west police to run 24-hour drones unit

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:36am 20th March 2017. (Updated at 5:25pm 20th March 2017)

Police drones will be able to fly across Cornwall and Devon round-the-clock.

Our force is launching the first 24-hour unit in Britain, along with Dorset.

It will be up and running by the summer after a trial two years ago.

The crime-fighting 'eyes in the skies' even have their own page on Twitter.

Officers have used them as an aerial view of a massive hotel fire and even to hunt for the escaped Dartmoor Lynx...

Devon and Cornwall Police has told Pirate FM they are recruiting a manager but not everything has been signed off.

A force spokesperson said: "We are in the process of setting up a dedicated drone unit for Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police".

The remote-controlled devices are being dubbed vital to help cash-strapped forces "rationalise" their resources.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry is the National Police Chiefs' Council spokesman on drones.

He told the Daily Mail: "I would not be at all surprised if other forces follow in due course - the question is not whether they will, it's when.

"There may be an opportunity at some point in the future to rationalise what we need our cops to do because we find drones can do it more effectively and more cost-efficiently…an example of that would be looking for missing people.

"That opportunity has not yet manifested…there will be a point where that question gets asked".

He added: "I think it's a brave senior officer who will make that step that is going to cut cops because they have got drones.

"If delivering the best service within the budget means using drones for something, a cop is now free to go to that burglary. It's about freeing resources".

Watch them being trialled in Cornwall and Devon...


The drones are equipped with high definition (HD) cameras which can capture both video and still images.

Inspector Andy Hamilton who headed up the trial said: "Drones offer many benefits that complement the National Police Air Service (NPAS) Helicopter. This technology offers a potentially highly cost effective approach to missing person searches, crime scene photography, and responding to major road traffic collisions.

"Using a drone to capture footage on difficult terrain and hard to reach areas such as cliffs, woodland or the moors to find a missing person, combat wildlife crime or even a firearm incident, will allow officers to gain vital information, quickly, safely, and allow us to respond effectively at the scene".

Drones are becoming more and more popular as a hobby too and the Civil Aviation Authority is urging us to know the rules and use them safely.

Spokesman Jonathon Nicolson said: "Drones have a great future, both commercially to help people in emergency services and as fun and hobbies as well. But people need to fly them safely now, to make sure they have that great future that we and others think they potentially have.

"Don't fly your drone above 400ft, absolutely don't fly them aircraft or air fields or airports and use your common sense; if it looks a dangerous place to fly it probably is so don't fly there".

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