The team was also credited with flying critical support missions that helped firefighters contain a mountain blaze in June. North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin hailed its members as ‘high-flying heroes’ and pledged to expand their numbers and range of activity.
Chief Inspector Jon Aspinall said: “They are incredibly versatile and essentially they have revolutionized policing. It’s enabling us to do things we were not able to do before. The fact that Dunbobbin is keen on technology in general and drones in particular is music to our ears.”
Drones for good
The DJI Matrice 300 RTKs used by the North Wales Police drone unit flew over 350 missions in the first three months of operation alone, often using the thermal imaging and 200x zoom video to scour terrain for details foot patrols can miss. For now, those have mostly been deployed in ways qualifying as ‘drones for good’, though Aspinall says the craft are also assets in hard-core police enforcement as well.
“In addition to finding missing people, the drones are used for a range of different police work including catching criminals fleeing from vehicles or houses, or people who have been involved in domestic abuse and fled the scene,” he said.
More police units are starting to use drones, including Hertfordshire police and fire and rescue service.