WEST MIDLANDS Police will be taking crime fighting to new heights, thanks to a link-up with Coventry’s Urban Air Port (UAP) which starts in April.
The project – which starts in April – centres on the police’s drones and the force will be bringing its expertise to the planning and development, as well as building on an infrastructure network of take-off and landing sites.
It will boost the crime fighting operations carried out by the police which already has 46 dedicated drone pilots, providing a 24/7 drone service.
Drones are used by forces to help save lives, spot offenders and capture evidence.
Click below to watch a video on how West Midlands Police uses drones –
Assistant Chief Constable, Mike O’Hara, said: “It’s an exciting time for the development of police use of drones.
“As a force we receive over 2,000 emergency calls a day, so the possibility of using drones to innovate the emergency service sector is endless.
“Urban Air Port will allow us to explore, showcase and implement what the future holds for policing the sky.”
Last year was a busy one for the drones team with 3,450 flights taking place across the skies of the West Midlands.
All the drones are funded by the Asset Recovery Fund as part of the Proceed of Crimes Act, meaning they were paid for by convicted criminal’s cash.
Insp Mark Colwell said: “Drones offer a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to gain footage from above. They are helping us in a wide range of applications.
“While there continues to be a need for a helicopter to carry out high-speed, long-distance pursuits, drones give us the benefit of additional air support at those times when a helicopter cannot be justified.
“We have our fleet of drones strategically located at a number of bases. When urgent support is requested, they can reach all areas of the West Midlands within minutes. They are small enough to fit in a car boot, so can be transported quickly and easily.
“From using heat detecting cameras to identify cannabis farms, capturing footage of major incidents to even carrying out crime scene searches.”
An Urban Air Port showcase will take place on April 25, demonstrating how drones can be used in the future and how WMP polices the skies.
The ‘pop up’ Urban-Air Port is supported by the UK Government and Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility division, Supernal.
Meeting the public as well as the force’s engagement with schools and universities is key to educate and provide reassurance about West Midlands Police uses with drones. The Air One event will provide an opportunity to further inform, demonstrate and answer questions.
Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban Air Port Ltd, said: “It’s a great privilege to be working with West Midlands Police to enhance safety of our communities and set new benchmarks in how through the use of technology we can provide greater security via quicker response times with zero emissions.
“Growing up in Birmingham as a child, I’m delighted to be able to support West Midlands Police’s efforts in keeping us safe and deploying Air One as a disaster emergency management and security hub for their demonstrations.”
People will be able to book free tickets to visit the Urban Air Port when it is up and running and can follow @DronesWMP on Twitter for more on how West Midlands Police use drones.