NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 10th, 2018.
North Wales Police have unveiled their new weapon in their fight against crime with the launch of their Drone Unit.
The latest in drone technology has been trialled in North Wales Police since late 2017, and such has been their benefit an operational drone unit has been created.
Capturing high-quality video and still images, the drones will be used to assist with searches for missing people, road traffic collision investigations, major crime incidents and event planning and management.
The teams two drones, which have police livery and can also be equipped with a thermal imaging camera, have already been used to search for missing people and investigate crime.
Officers from the new unit deployed a drone during the recent fire at the Gateway to Wales Hotel in Deeside where they assisted firefighters with thermal imaging capabilities.
Senior Operations Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Stuart Millington said:
“The opportunity to see an aerial moving image that shows hotspots utilising thermal imaging capabilities is a significantly useful tool in order to resolve operational incidents.
“The agreement in place in North Wales that allows fire and rescue service incident commanders to consider the deployment of this resource is a great example of how partnership working between emergency services can improve the outcome for the communities that we collectively serve.”
A total of 15 Police Officers and staff members have completed their Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) training which involved passing a theory exam and practical flight test.
A number of ‘Drone Spotters’, who are there to assist the Drone pilots, have also been trained across the region.
All officers and staff who have been trained have undertaken this as an additional skill to their everyday duties and who can be called upon if the drones are required.
Inspector Craig Jones from the Force’s Operational Planning Unit said: “The drones are highly effective in capturing still or video images on difficult terrain and hard to reach areas. They allow officers to gain vital information, quickly and safely and to positively inform our decision making.
“The drones have a downlink which means officers on the ground can see live footage captured by the drone in the air.
“We have been evaluating the drones over the last few months and we very much hope that we will be able to further develop the use of this technology in the near future.”
Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said:
“The drones offer a highly cost-effective approach to help assist our officers. Being able to launch a drone in the air in a few minutes could help save lives and secure vital evidence if a crime was in progress.”