In the United Kingdom, the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary launched the premier all-hours drone unit in the country.
This summer, the unit provided drones equipped with cameras to police officers in the region.
The drones are used to help with police investigations, photographing crime scenes and suspicious areas, and searching for mission persons.
In the winter of 2015, the Devon and Cornwall Police implemented a pilot program with a few DJI Inspire 1 drones. Because of the success of that project, Devon and Cornwall hopes to share the drone unit with their neighbours in Dorset.
The Devon and Cornwall Police hope to hire a “drone team manager,” to ensure that the unit functions at its best across three different counties. The unit’s efficiency was the main concern prior to the implementation of the project.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said he expected other forces to implement and design similar drone units for their forces. He felt that it wasn’t an issue of “whether they will, it’s when.”
He also hopes that drone units will help forces make better decisions about when and where to send officers, because drones can do many tasks more cheaply and efficiently than officers. He cited the example of searching for missing persons.
As Barry said, police forces all over the UK hope to use drones more frequently, though this has led to fears about job cuts within police forces.
Barry does not think that a reasonable senior officer would cut huge numbers of officers because they suddenly have drones at their disposal. He believes that if using drones for a task frees up resources and is more economically sound, officers will be able to respond to other calls rather than wasting time and energy on calls that drones can deal with.