UK police forces are trialling the use of drones in an effort to find new ways to effectively police everything from natural disasters to terrorist activity.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, from the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) told Mashable, “Police forces in the UK are looking into the use of drones, to see if they are an effective and less costly alternative to traditional policing methods.”
One trial carried out in Sussex and Surrey used five specialized Aeryon SkyRanger drones, at a cost of Â£250,000, and has been described as “succesful”.
The drones could potentially be effective in monitoring protests, locating missing persons and high-speed chases, as they’re cheaper and have a lower profile than helicopters.
The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is also trialling these drones, with a trained team of operators using the drone’s infra-red and night-vision capabilities to find survivors of fires.
Footage from drones was used to assess the damage caused by Storm Desmond which caused flooding across the UK over Christmas.
— Manchester Fire (@manchesterfire) December 7, 2015
But we won’t be seeing police drones zooming around our skies just yet: “Any use would need to comply with existing Civil Aviation Authority regulations,” the NPCC said.