As part of our work looking at the opening of UK skies to large ‘beyond visual line of sight’ drones for surveillance and security purposes, we undertook a comprehensive Freedom of Information (FoI) survey of police use of drones in order to benchmark current police use.
In particular we wanted to investigate:
- if the use of drones by the police had already increased since 2017 (when HM Inspector of Constabulary reported that 28 of the 43 forces in England and Wales had either purchased a drone or had ready access to one;
- in which way police forces were using drones;
- if police forces had taken advantage of the special permission granted to them by the Civil Airspace Authority (CAA) to use drones during the COVID-19 outbreak.
While current police use of drones is restricted to small, quad-copter type systems, police are trialling the use of much larger, military-grade drones that can stay airborne for much greater periods of time. Read more