Drones, or, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, are nothing new.
In fact there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of drones being flown every single day by considerate and law-abiding people who just enjoy flying their drone (in areas where such flights are allowed).
Over the past 4 years, more and more police forces and fire authorities have been using drones for a variety
As one example, drones allow the fire service to keep track of hotspots during large fires meaning that they can direct their efforts towards the ‘seat’ of the fire.
And drones are used by the police for a wide variety of different reasons, from searching for missing people to providing mapping services for crime scene examiners.
West Midlands Police even deployed their specialist drone pilots (who are serving officers and who have gone through several months of training before being allowed to fly a drone) in order to provide intelligence during a recent illegal ‘car cruise’.
During the incident, a suspected street racer was arrested and dozens more face being taken to court after West Midlands Police utilised the skills of their drone pilots.
Officers moved to contain (scroll down for video) a convoy of motorists suspected of racing or driving anti-socially in Nechells Parkway on Sunday 13th Jan after two successive weekends of anti-social behaviour on behalf of the ‘street racers’.
And if you think that there is nothing wrong with illegal street races, then try sharing that sentiment to the people who have been involved in accidents during these illegal events.
During the incident officers were pelted with coins, fireworks and other objects as they battled to break-up the illegal gathering.
Speaking about the incident, Birmingham Police Superintendent Ian Green, said:
“Many of those detained are understood to be spectators…people who were lining the streets hoping to watch street racing.
“Motorists, businesses and residents in areas affected by ‘car cruising’ have told us they are fed up with this type of dangerous, anti-social activity.
“This type of behaviour on our streets isn’t fun, it isn’t a game…it can have fatal consequences. And any motorist prepared to put people’s lives at risk by racing on our roads need to accept they may well end up in jail.
“We’ve taken a really firm stance on street racers in recent years: hundreds have been taken to court and handed heavy fines and driving bans.
“Recently we’ve seen an upturn in complaints from residents and other motorists reporting anti-social driving.
“This operation should highlight that it’s still an issue we take very seriously and anyone caught ignoring the injunction needs to understand we will take them to court – and the punishment can be very severe with offenders facing prison terms.”
At the moment, drones are limited in their flying time according to the type and size of their batteries.
But in the future, i.e. within the next few years, these batteries will become better and more efficient and other new power sources will mean that drones will be able to stay in the air for much longer periods of time.
Currently, officers are only ‘allowed’ to fly their drones within their visual line of sight.
But once the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority change the law and drone flights beyond the visual line of sight are ‘allowed’ then the ‘job’ of being a criminal will become much, much harder.
And that’s why, despite the recent trouble at Heathrow and Gatwick airport, we should all embrace this new technology.
It will be a game changer for the emergency services.
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