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Police drones used for the first time during A64 incident


7:23am 5th May 2018
(Updated 7:25am 5th May 2018)

The police say they used their new drone for the first time to help track down a man who was throwing bricks at cars on the A64 this week.

The unmanned battery powered craft was flown over Fulford as officers searched for him.

North Yorkshire Police received a number of calls from motorists near the slip road to the A19, south of the city centre.

A police spokeswoman said ten vehicles had been damaged in the incident, some of which were no longer safe to drive, but no reports of injuries had been received at this time.

A man has been arrested inside the Designer Outlet.

Drones will be used in missing people searches

The drone is equipped with powerful cameras with thermal imaging.

Superintendent Mike Walker says there are very strict guidelines they will follow to cover the issue of privacy. It won't be used in a way that will lead to accusations of "Big Brother" policing.

One of their main uses will be in searches for missing people. They will be able to cover a lot of ground very quickly and with the thermal imaging, spot things that will not always been caught by the naked eye.

Key points about the use of drones

• The drones are to enhance current police tactics - priority is public safety

• Official name for drones are Unmanned Ariel Vehicles

• NYP have four drones which will cover the geographical area of North Yorkshire – they are all the same in terms of capability however one is slightly larger in size

• All drones can take video footage and still images and also thermal imagery. They will not always be recording.

• PC Paul Beckwith is Flight Chief Pilot and Flight Safety Manager – They will be training a number of other pilots in the Operational Support Unit and the Rural Task Force over the next six months

• The permission for NYP to fly the drones has been granted by the Civil Aviation Authority – They are classes as a Commercial Authority so they must ensure that risk mitigation, policies and processes are appropriate to the permissions for commercial use

There are two levels of permission;

1. Being able to do what public can do but with authority as a commercial company -not being able to use within 50 meters of vessel not within 50m of a person who is not in your control and not within 150m of a built up area

2. Use the drones beyond the restrictions of above –if an operational reason was identified to use the drones in an arena outside the above restrictions, there would need to be a significant detailed risk assessment for this use.

A police spokeswoman said.

It is important to note that permissions are reviewed annually by the Civil Aviation Authority and they will ensure that we have conducted full risk assessments for every deployment of the drones to prove we have complied with their regulations

There is a full risk assessment and plan conducted prior to each use of a drone

• Examples of a use of the drone;

1. open land search for a missing person -one of the benefits of this use is that the drone enables us to deploy search resources to other locations while the drones does the visual aerial search.

2. Drones will be useful for searches along the river

3. Drones will be used to take photographs of damage to rural environments


Police will handle the information they capture in the same way we do all other material, adhering to privacy guidelines and other legal procedures.

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