Nottinghamshire Police welcome new crime-fighting eye in the sky

A new and improved police drone is taking to the skies above Nottinghamshire for the force’s specialist police team.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 10:16 am
Chief Pilot PC Vince Saunders with the DJI Matrice 300

After operating with one main drone throughout its first 18 months, the team has recently taken delivery of a new primary drone, doubling its capacity to carry out reactive and pre-planned deployments.

The team’s 17 operational pilots are currently undertaking familiarisation flights with the drone, which is now ready for operational use.

Chief Pilot PC Vince Saunders said he believed the significant financial investment by Nottinghamshire Police showed the impact and effectiveness of the drone team.

He said: “Over the last 18 months we have developed a really effective operational resource capable of responding to emergency demand and supporting pre-planned operations.

“The main advantage of this new drone is that it will allow us to send our most effective and durable drones to these deployments simultaneously – greatly increasing our availability to officers on the ground. I am particularly excited by several new features on the drone, including its new hot-swapping battery technology that reduces to a matter of seconds the time it takes to swap out batteries and get airborne again.

“All in all we’ll be able to fly for longer, see further and follow suspects and vehicles with a greater degree of accuracy than ever before. That will allow us to carry out existing deployments more effectively and also open up some new opportunities to follow more challenging targets.”

The team, based at Sherwood Lodge police headquarters in Arnold, now has four drones, two main units and two smaller consumer style support units. It is constantly on alert to deploy to anywhere in the county at a moment’s notice, and is also on hand to assist colleagues from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, giving them potentially life-saving temperature information of building fires.

Asked about the future of aerial police support PC Saunders added: “I think we are still in the very early days of a really exciting journey in the use of drones in police work. In the future I believe we will see the use of fixed wing drones. These would allow police forces to benefit from operations beyond the line of sight – giving a much closer comparison to traditional helicopter operations.”