What are drones/UAVs?
An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. The term UAV covers a wide range of systems from the small children’s toy to large military systems. UAVs are most often referred to as drones and this is how the police service refers to them.
What drones do Lancashire Police have?
Our drones are small battery-powered rotor systems. Commonly known as quadcopters, they are powered by four electric motors. They take off and land vertically like helicopters.
We use an Aeryon SkyRanger which weighs 2.6 kg including the battery and camera. They can operate in all weather conditions and in winds of up to 65 kilometers per hour.
How much do they cost?
They cost around £50.000, including the cameras and charging devices.
What training do the Police Drone Pilots have?
Our pilots are trained to CAA standards and have completed theory and practical tests to achieve the high standard required. Every 12 months they are reassessed and are required to fly a certain amount of hours in a 3 month period to maintain currency.
What cameras do they carry?
The systems have the option of carrying the following cameras:
- Dual daylight/thermal camera (4 x digital zoom)
- Daylight HD camera (4 x digital zoom)
- Daylight HD camera (30 x Optical Zoom)
What do we use drones for?
We are using drones to:
- Assist with searches for missing people and persons at large.
- Assist with investigations into road traffic collisions, major crime incidents and Industrial Accident investigations.
- Assist with event planning and management
- Provide situational awareness to officers and Commanders in a variety of policing situations.
The drones are only deployed for specific operational tasks and are not used for general patrol/surveillance. They are not patrolling the skies on a daily basis.
How do we think drones will help deliver a policing service?
Using drones will help us:
- Use our resources more effectively by having the right resources in the right place at the right time to resolve incidents quickly.
- Enhance the safety of the public and police by deploying a drone into situations which would otherwise involve risks to individuals.
- Provide good quality evidence to assist apprehension and prosecution of offenders.
- Enhance joint working with other Emergency Services and external partner agencies.
Do the police have to comply with existing regulation and legislation?
Yes. The Emergency Services need to work within the existing legislation and regulation in respect of drone use. We operate in accordance with our operating permission granted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
What about privacy and Data Protection?
We have developed a specific Privacy Impact Assessment for police use of drones and a self-assessment document to test compliance against the CCTV codes of practice.
Lancashire Police are compliant with the new GDPR legislation.