South Yorkshire Police is to begin developing a drone capability following the approval of funding by a board of senior officers.
It has announced that, following the acquisition of two drones last year to monitor Doncaster Sheffield Airport, it has plans to buy six more to be deployed for a range of operations. These will include missing person searches, responding to major incidents, crowd controls and proactive operations.
In addition, 20 officers will be trained to pilot the drones in line with Civil Aviation Authority regulations, beginning next month.
Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley (pictured above) said: “This technology brings huge opportunity to improve our service to our communities.
“By developing our fleet, we will have another flexible and highly adaptable resource to help us in a range of spontaneous and pre-planned operations, giving us that extra dimension of a controlled oversight to inform what is happening and what best the police can do. This really will help us in keeping our communities safe.”
The move is part of a trend towards harnessing drone technology to support policing, with Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Police having become the first forces to set up a fully operational drone unit in 2017.
The trend apparently has public support: late last year the Department for Transport published the results of a survey showing that 78% of respondents were in favour of the use of drones in policing.
Image from South Yorkshire Police