An “eyes in the skies” approach is being taken by Hartlepool police force to back up officers on the ground.
One of the town’s PCSOs, Mark Say, is one of a cohort of 11 from across Cleveland force who recently undertook drone pilot training, qualifying him to fly in built-up areas and at night.
Already in Hartlepool, drones have been used to keep an eye on recent school leavers’ gatherings, and across Teesside they’ve been used to tackle criminal use of off-road bikes, for rural ASB and wildlife crime patrols.
The machines are also being used re-actively – for example to help find missing or wanted people when a large search area is involved.
Lead Drone Operator, Sergeant Ben Docherty, said: “It’s vital we make use of all available technology and using drones adds another dimension to neighbourhood policing.
“The force’s commitment to partnership working means the drones have also taken part in initiatives like fire prevention patrols in Redcar & Cleveland, alongside our colleagues from Cleveland Fire Brigade.
“All officers from the recent training cohort have taken it in their stride and they’re really embracing this new aspect of policing. It will add even more value to the work they do.”
Mark added: “I’m enjoying this new part of my role and it gives us an extra tool to help with ASB, crime, and missing people searches.
“We can use the technology to gather intelligence and evidence and the potential these machines bring is almost endless.”
And Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner said “I passionately believe that a wider and more intelligent use of technology in policing will deliver fantastic benefits to our communities.
“The drone team at Cleveland is proving to be an invaluable asset and by training pilots who are already embedded in our neighbourhood teams, we can utilise both this technology and exceptional local knowledge to ensure every deployment generates the greatest possible success.”
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