Lincolnshire

Up in the sky with Lincolnshire Police’s drones

Futuristic sci-fi films always show police drones hovering in the sky, but they’re already doing that in Lincolnshire.

In just over a year the Lincolnshire Police Drones Unit has had 300 deployments including searching for missing people and exposing a cannabis farm.

The unit received £30,000 funding for the first year, of which 22,000 was spent on hardware.

Drone Manager at Lincolnshire Police Ed Delderfield is in charge of the unit, which officially launched in October 2017 after six months of hard work.

Lincolnshire Reporter went behind the scenes with Lincolnshire Police Drones to find out about how they work and some of the key cases so far.

The technology

The kit used by Lincolnshire Police Drones. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

Lincolnshire Police have two kits using the Inspire 1 drone with the controllers. There is the option to use the daylight zoom camera or the thermal imaging camera depending on the type of job the unit is deployed to.

The footage captured can be seen in real time on the tablet with the kit, which can also be downlinked back to the force control room as well.

The drone controller. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

As previously reported, drones have assisting in helping to find missing people including a vulnerable man with dementia.

It has also saved the lives of two people, including an unconscious male who was found in a ditch in Ludborough after wandering off from a crash.

The technology enables them to support officers on the ground by searching vast open and hard to reach areas. It is also less expensive than a helicopter with shorter travel time, so more time can be spent searching.

Special Sergeant and Chief Pilot at Lincolnshire Police Drones Kevin Taylor. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

Chief Pilot at Lincolnshire Police Drones Kevin Taylor told Lincolnshire Reporter that the technology has been “instrumental in saving life and protecting the community of Lincolnshire”.

He said: “The drone project has proven its worth and we look forward to future expansion. It is a real team effort from our team of 10 enthusiastic officers.”

The drone in action. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

On the unit’s first year, he added: “We’ve had a really busy first year. We’ve learned a lot of lessons from it. In the first year we did 300 deployments to a range of jobs, everything from missing persons, which has probably been one of the most popular jobs that we’ve been deployed to, crime scene investigations, looking for wanted persons.

“We’re doing quite a lot of road traffic collision footage as well now for our serious collision investigation unit. We were at the Christmas market last year looking at crowd dynamics, able to get a really good overview of the crowd and we’ll be there again this year.

“We’ve done a few other events around the county throughout the year as well, ensuring public safety and being able to keep a very good over watch where there’s no CCTV.”