Force trials shared fire service drone

Cheshire Constabulary has joined forces with the local fire service to purchase a state-of-the-art drone.

May 21, 2018
By Kevin Hearty

The force has launched a six-month trial for an unmanned aerial vehicle known as the DJI Matrice 210, which is equipped with digital and thermal imaging cameras.

The device will be used to search for missing people and help police public order events, as well as assessing road traffic collisions and identifying cannabis farms.

Its implementation follows careful studying of how drones are being used by the 22 other forces across the country that have already introduced the technology.

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane said: “Police currently use the National Police Air Service (NPAS) for all its aerial requirements such as search and photography.

“Although manned aircraft will always be required for some operational activities, there are opportunities, such as when aerial photography alone is required, that drones could be more suitable, quick to deploy and more cost-effective.

“We have been monitoring the use of drones in other police forces and we think the time is right to test this new piece of equipment out for ourselves. This trial will help us to assess the benefits of the system in Cheshire.”

The new drone will be based at Cheshire Constabulary’s joint headquarters with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Centre in Winsford.

It will only be deployed in daylight hours for the duration of the six-month trial period.

Three police officers and three firefighters have already been trained and accredited to pilot the drone.

The fire service will primarily use it to deal with large-scale incidents, to quickly identify heat sources and give information to personnel on the ground.

Cheshire Fire Authority chair, Councillor Bob Rudd, said: “This is an exciting project and should really improve the service’s ability to tackle large scale fires and road traffic collisions and to help keep our fantastic firefighters safe.

“It is an amazing piece of equipment and demonstrates again both services commitment to the blue light collaboration project. I’m really looking forward to seeing the outcome of the trial.”

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