Use of Drones

As part of its alliance with Devon and Cornwall Police, Dorset Police began to trial the use of drones in policing back in November 2015 with a dedicated 'drone team'. 

The six month trial demonstrated their use can be effective in capturing still or video images on difficult terrain and hard to reach areas such as cliffs, woodland or moors to find a missing person, combat wildlife crime or even during a firearm incident. This allows officers to gain vital information, quickly and safely and to respond effectively at the scene.

During the summer of 2016, the use of drones or 'unmanned aerial systems' became a regular asset to investigators and the two forces formed the first dedicated drone unit in the Country. 

Safer Drone Courses:

We're offering 'safer drones' courses to help members of the public make sensible and legal choices when flying their drone. Upcoming course dates are:

  • 13th January 2019 - Ferndown Police Station

The topics covered include the law, pilot responsibilities, privacy, the drone code and are led by police drone operators. The course costs £20 for a 3 hour workshop, including refreshments and a certificate. Minimum age of attendees is 12 (under 16’s need to be accompanied by an adult but only the child pays). 

For more information and to sign up, email: 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Is it a replacement to the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter?

Drone technology offers a highly cost effective approach to missing person searches, crime scene photography, and responding to major road traffic collisions, but is not seen as a replacement to the NPAS helicopter. 

How do they work?

The drones have a HD downlink which means officers on the ground can see live footage captured by the drone in the air. The footage can also be shared with commanders in our force control rooms. 

Are your drone pilots appropriately trained?

Civil Aviation (CAA) regulations state that drone operators must pass a national CAA accredited qualification which all our operators have passed. 

How can I keep up to date with the team's work? 

A twitter account has been created @PoliceDrones which keeps you informed about where and when the drone is in operational use, as well as sharing operational footage and images of our drones in action.

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