according to Build IE the police in Northern Ireland might be the next to try sUAS.
Police aerial surveillance in Northern Ireland looks set to go high-tech – and more compact than ever before – with a member of the NI Policing Board welcoming news that the PSNI is considering the use of mini drones to combat crime and the dissident republican threat.
These are vastly cheaper to run that manned police helicopters and can be assembled and deployed within minutes.
Some examples already in use are fitted with a camera that automatically tracks a subject, and can relay live pictures back to the operator, has a three kilometre range and flies at ground speeds of 50 kilometres an hour making them ideal for border areas like south Armagh.
Already the Civil Aviation Authority is reported to have confirmed to the BBC that it has already had discussions with the PSNI about possible drone deployment.
The latest police helicopter cost £7m when it was bought last year and with maintenance, fuel and pilot salaries, running the PSNI’s small fleet of three helicopter costs over £1.5m every year.
A police drone’s cost would be more like £150,000 and, powered by batteries, it would be able to remain airborne for up to seven hours, with the running costs are substantially lower.
The DUP Group Leader on the Policing Board, Alderman Robin Newton has welcomed that the PSNI are considering the use of aerial drones to combat dissident Republican terrorist activity and other crime.
“Every tool that can be put to use in the campaign against dissident Republican criminals should be considered.
“If the police can prove that the use of aerial drones would benefit the security situation in Northern Ireland then we will support them,” said the MLA.
“The dissident criminals want to drag Northern Ireland backwards into violence and bloodshed. We are determined that they will not be allowed to succeed in their twisted aims,” said the former Stormont Junior Minister and long-serving Belfast City Councillor.