Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and Nottinghamshire Police have invested in drone technology to tackle crime and gather aerial information at significant fire incidents, which will help keep firefighters, the public and other responders from unnecessary danger.
The latest collaboration from both organisations will see the drone used by the Service to support operations at incidents such as urban search and rescue, disaster response, road collisions, hazardous materials and large scale fires.
It will be used by the Police to help find high-risk missing people, to support rural crime prevention and detection operations, responding to major incidents such as flooding, monitor public order events such as protests, pre-planned operations, counter-terrorism operations and gather evidence to secure court convictions.
The new equipment was demonstrated on Friday 29 March 2019 in front of local media at NFRS Headquarters in Arnold, Nottingham.
Bryn Coleman (pictured right), Area Manager at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, who is the Service’s Collaboration Lead, said: “We are delighted that we will be able to share this new resource with our police colleagues.
“A number of other fire and rescue services have utilised a drone at incidents and it is clear they can be very beneficial in carrying out water rescues and fighting fires.
“The drone gives us a perspective at an incident which can really make our job easier, helping us and our partners to provide an excellent service to the people of Nottinghamshire.”
Nottinghamshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell (pictured centre) said: "This is great news for both organisations and will give the force another tool to be used to help tackle crime.
"We've had great support from the National Police Air Service (NPAS) units and we will continue to do so, however, they aren't always available at short notice, so having our own drone will be a real advantage.
"The new drone will give officers a chance to scan large areas in a very short time and could ultimately save lives."
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, (pictured second from right) said that the drone was a further tool in the box to keep people safe. He added: "The drone is a cost-effective eye-in-the-sky. It isn’t replacing the helicopter, but it will enhance our aerial capability.
“There is no doubt that it will help to catch criminals, locate missing people, provide vital updates to both services on various incidents and I’m sure that it will be a valuable means of tackling crime in more rural areas. This is an investment thanks to this year’s budget and it illustrates how technology can bring significant tactical benefits to local services.”
The drone has been fitted with the latest high definition cameras and thermal imaging technology and this equipment will allow officers to cover more ground on their patrols.
It can be legally flown to a maximum height of 400ft (120m). This limit is set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) so drones do not interfere with aircraft which operate just above at 500ft.
Each drone is powered by rechargeable batteries and fully charged these can allow flight from between 20-45 minutes.
The force has purchased two drones, one to be used for training purposes and they have been funded by both organisations.
A group of 10 officers from the force’s five response teams will be trained to fly the drone, to ensure that it can be flown at any point to help with incidents.
The new equipment will be available to be used at the end of June 2019.