See Cleveland Police's new drones in action as they launch new tech to stay a step ahead of crooks

Police have unveiled a new tool to help them fight crime in the shape of three drones.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 3:07 pm
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 10:00 am

Cleveland Police say the eyes in the sky will help to save lives and stay a step ahead of criminals.

The force is investing £30,000 in the new technology which can be used to help search for vulnerable and missing people, assist in crowd control and gather evidence at live incidents.

High definition footage from the drones’ cameras is beamed straight back to the force control room.

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Clevelend Police Chief Pilot Nigel Rusby with one of the new drones.
Clevelend Police Chief Pilot Nigel Rusby with one of the new drones.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Graham said: “Adopting drones is the next step for us in tackling crime.

“Not only can they be in the air within minutes, the images can be used to help direct officers on the ground, which is really important when we look for missing people.”

Nine officers have been trained as pilots who fly the drones using remote controls which are fitted with a small monitor showing what the drone’s camera sees.

The gadgets can fly up to 400ft-high and have a range of around 500 metres from the pilot on the ground.

From left: Cleveland Police Drone Project Manager Nick See, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Graham, Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger and Chief Pilot Nigel Rusby.

Pilot Nigel Rusby said they can offer a faster, more affordable option than the force helicopter based at Newcastle or Wakefield.

Assistant Chief Constable Graham added: “Our cops will be given continual training and they have tested the equipment. We’re using drones in a really open way with the aim of preventing and detecting crime and keeping people safe.”

One of the drones is fitted with a heat-seeking thermal camera and they have already been used against suspected poachers.

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said he was delighted to have delivered a key commitment of the Police and Crime Plan and will monitor their use.

Cleveland Police Chief Pilot Nigel Rusby with a new drone.

He said: “As criminals use more sophisticated technology to bring harm to our communities, it’s important that the police invest in technology to keep residents safe.

“A drone capability will allow Cleveland Police to strengthen their current air support capacity, providing a more flexible and rapid response to a range of incidents and with the potential to cover large area with fewer resources.”

The public can see how the drones are deployed on Twitter @DronesPolice