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Four drones join the Surrey Police force


Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 4:23pm 8th April 2016. (Updated at 4:26pm 8th April 2016)

There are four new members of the Surrey and Sussex Policing teams - drones.

The two forces have acquired The Aeryon SkyRangers having been awarded almost £250,000 to fund them.

One has supported the policing operations at Gatwick since March 2014.

They can work day and night, in high wind and heavy rain, and can reach speeds of about 30mph.

They help with operations such as missing person searches, protestor responses, airport security and crash scene investigations.

The new equipment means the project is the largest of any force in the UK.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, head of Surrey and Sussex Police Operations, said: "We have invested significantly in training 38 operators to Civil Aviation Authority accredited standard to give us every opportunity to use drones when appropriate to do so to critically assess the benefits.

"Our project, operating five drones, is by far the largest in the UK, and there are a number of forces around the country that are commencing drone trials and the information from their trials will be incorporated into our report."

The money has been granted from the Home Office through the Police Innovation Fund, which rewards creative, collaborative and cost-saving projects aimed at transforming policing.

A three-month operational trial will see the five drones deployed to a number of towns: at Eastbourne Neighbourhood Response Team, Guildford Targeted Patrol Team, Gatwick Armed Response Vehicles, Shoreham Forensic Collision Investigation and Reconstruction Unit, and Lewes Operations Command Search and Operations Planning.

It will consider how far drones benefit a variety of investigations and increase public and officer safety, and to see if using them will make savings.

Assistant Chief Constable Barry added: "We have consulted extensively with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC), both of whom are satisfied with the approach we have taken over privacy and data protection.

"The OSC recently saw the Gatwick drone being operated and was impressed with our operational protocols.

"Our drone operations will be overt, open and transparent, and we will use all outlets available to us to ensure the public are informed of our drone use.

"Finally, I must stress drones are not a replacement for the NPAS police helicopter; they are complementary to it.”

Surrey Police reminds the public that anyone flying a drone in the UK has a responsibility to be aware of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe.

Full details can be found online.

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