DORSET’S Police and Crime Commissioner says drones could revolutionise policing.

Martyn Underhill says they could have the same impact police radios had in the 1960s.

The county’s police force is one the few across England and Wales that already uses drones, sharing four drones with neighbouring Devon and Cornwall in an arrangement that has been fully licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

They are used to help officers in their investigations by taking aerial photographs, recording videos and maps. The two forces have also used them to take photographs at crime scenes and road accidents.

This week one of the drones has been used to assist in the search for missing junior doctor Rose Polge who was last seen in a cove at Torbay.

Mr Underhill said: “Policing needs to be at the forefront of technology and quick to embrace innovation. Look at the portable two way radios transformed policing in the 1960s - I believe drones have the capability to revolutionise the way we police in this country in a similar way, whilst saving a substantial amount of public money.”

The Surveillance Commissioner Tony Porter visited Dorset to look at a demonstration of the drones in use.

The Strategic Alliance of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Police is now working with Mr Porter’s office to achieve Third Party Certification regarding the use of drones. This would help demonstrate the Alliance comply with the surveillance camera code of practice.

Mr Underhill said: “I know there will be some people who feel uneasy about police using this equipment but in my view, the law abiding public have nothing to fear.

“Providing strong governance is in place, there is no reason why police drones can’t become a familiar sight.”


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