South Yorkshire Police invests in fleet of drones to boost the frontline

South Yorkshire Police has invested in a fleet of drones to be used at crime scenes, during major incidents and to help in searches for missing people.

By Claire Lewis
Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 12:02 pm
Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley with a drone
Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley with a drone

Following a pilot scheme at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, where officers were trained how to use the devices in the event of an incident on the airfield, bosses have now approved funding for another six drones – taking the the force's fleet to eight.

The drones will now be deployed routinely for a variety of operations and also for crowd monitoring purposes at major events.

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Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley with a drone

PC Gordon Sitch said: “Whilst experimenting with our first two drones and after discussions with other forces, it became clear that we could be using this technology beyond the airfield’s fences.

“We have made the case for investing in further aircraft, so that they can be used more routinely across the force.”

Funding has been secured for eight drones to be used by South Yorkshire Police

Operational Support Unit Inspector Martin Rodgers added: “Whilst we will still be working closely with our colleagues at National Police Air Service for certain operations, adding this resource will mean we can respond more quickly and spontaneously to incidents.”

Twenty officers from across the force will undergo training in line with Civil Aviation Authority regulations to be allowed to operate the drones.

Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley 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.”

Training is due to start in March.