Hartlepool Police to have an eye in the sky thanks to their first drone pilot

Crime fighting in Hartlepool will now be aided by the town’s first police drone pilot.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 1:10 pm

PCSO Mark Say is one of of 11 Cleveland Police staff members who recently undertook drone pilot training comprising both theory and practical elements.

He is the only drone pilot specifically allocated to the town and has recently attained Level 2 Pilot status, meaning he’s qualified to fly in more built-up areas - including at night.

PCSO Mark Say will mainly work on pre-planned deployments, adding valuable “eyes in the skies” back up to officers on the ground.

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PCSO Mark Say is Hartlepool's first police drone pilot.

The drones have already been used to help tackles nuisance or criminal use of off-road bikes and for rural anti-social behaviour (ASB) and wildlife crime patrols.

In Hartlepool, the devices were recently used to keep an eye on school leavers’ gatherings and to monitor suspected misbehaviour in Summerhill Country Park.

Cleveland Police lead drone operator Sergeant Ben Docherty said: “It’s vital we make use of all available technology and using drones adds another dimension to neighbourhood policing.

“The force’s commitment to partnership working means the drones have also taken part in initiatives like fire prevention patrols in Redcar and Cleveland, alongside our colleagues from Cleveland Fire Brigade.

An aerial view of Hartlepool courtesy of the drone.

“All officers from the recent training cohort have taken it in their stride and they’re really embracing this new aspect of policing. It will add even more value to the work they do.”

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PCSO Say added: “I’m enjoying this new part of my role and it gives us an extra tool to help with ASB, crime, and missing people searches.

"We can use the technology to gather intelligence and evidence and the potential these machines bring is almost endless.”

Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner said: “I passionately believe that a wider and more intelligent use of technology in policing will deliver fantastic benefits to our communities.

"The drone team at Cleveland is proving to be an invaluable asset and by training pilots who are already embedded in our neighbourhood teams, we can utilise both this technology and exceptional local knowledge to ensure every deployment generates the greatest possible success.”

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