First responder drone technology trialled at Isle of Wight Festival

In one of the first UK trials of Drone as First Responder (DFR), Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary and Thames Valley Police trialled the innovative technology as part of policing the 2024 Isle of Wight Festival.

Jul 8, 2024
By Paul Jacques

DFR is a concept being developed and tested by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) pathways programme. DFR sees police drones launched and piloted remotely to provide a fast response to incidents, feeding back real-time information to police control rooms and operational units.

The trial at the Isle of Wight Festival created a simulated DFR capability in addition to the force’s routine police drones resource and saw a drone being flown from an IDI Automated Deployment System (ADS) – essentially a remote box from which the drone is launched.

Pilot and NPCC project lead Chris Stagg led the experienced team running the trial, which was stationed at a temporary heliport set up for the festival within a temporary restricted area.

In addition to the live view, the DFR capability was deployed in response to a request to check that road closures were correctly in place, freeing-up officers on the ground to continue their public safety patrol duties.

Mr Stagg is part of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary and Thames Valley Police Joint Operations Unit. He said: “This was the first time we’ve been able to put the DFR technology to use in a live environment and it gave us a great insight to just how effective it could be as part of a routine policing response in the near future, helping keep people safe and providing a dynamic and responsive view of the situation on the ground.”

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