Police drones could be coming to a sky near you

Published: 17 July 2017

Police in South Shields are cracking down on antisocial behaviour from motorcyclists with the assistance of drones.

Riders who are known to be riding recklessly in South Tyneside are the target of the drones, with a view for the aerial devices to help capture footage of the motorcyclists who ride recklessly. 

The move comes as concerned residents fear for their safety as groups of motorcyclists are known to ride anti-socially through residential streets, pulling wheelies and behaving in a manner that is generally viewed as unfit for the road. 

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“Drone capability is a cutting-edge way to support operational policing” said Chief Superintendent Jim Nye, Commander for the Alliance Operations Department. “This technology offers a highly cost effective approach in supporting our officers on the ground in operational policing.” 

“Drones can even help police track and monitor suspects during a firearm or terrorist incident, as it will allow officers to gain vital information, quickly, safely, and allow us to respond effectively at the scene.

Police are in talks with South Shields Fire Station who have a drone at their disposal, to use the device to gather evidence so that the anti-social motorcyclists can be charged.

Eye in the sky

South Shields aren't the first police force to consider drones as a means of collecting evidence. Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police forces fave fully operational drone units. Dorset Police have five trained officers and six drones.

The move comes as a means of effectively reducing costs. It costs £800 an hour to use the police helicopter, and all that money comes from the taxpayer's pocket. A drone costs several times less and allows police to use the device in situations where they might not have been able to use aerial imagery before.

The drones can be used with thermal imaging equipment and zoom cameras to gather evidence that can be used to prosecute.

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