Published on 24th August 2020

Cheshire Constabulary has a new piece of kit to help keep communities safe, with the force’s drone officially taking to the sky from today (Monday 24 August).

The Matrice 300RTK drone, which is also known as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), will equip the frontline with a useful and powerful tool that can support officers in their daily duties.

By using the latest technologies in the fight against crime, the drone will enable the force to provide a better service to the public and make sure vulnerable people are safeguarded.

The force has recruited and trained up a team of officers who make up the Drone Support Unit, which includes three officers and a sergeant.

The unit is based at the headquarters in Winsford and will assist with:
• Searching for missing and wanted people
• Aerial imagery and reconstruction of road traffic collisions
• Aerial imagery for crime scene investigations
• Protests and disorder
• Identification of cannabis farms
• Event management planning

The newly qualified pilots have all received qualifications the Civil Aviation Authority recognise to enable them to operate a drone on behalf of the Constabulary.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane, said: “Police currently use the National Air Support Service (NPAS) for all its aerial requirements such as search and photography. Although manned aircraft will always be required for some operational activities, there are opportunities, such as when aerial photography alone is required, that drones would be more suitable, quicker to deploy and more cost-effective.

“The drone will bring huge benefits to frontline policing in Cheshire and I am really pleased that the force is now in a position to start using the drones on a day-to-day basis to help keep the public of Cheshire safe.”

Chief Inspector Gareth Wrigley said: “A few short months ago the unit formed, and the team have been working hard to get to this point, where the drone can officially take to the skies to assist with frontline policing.

“I want to reassure the public that the drone will not be used for general surveillance and will only be used for incidents and operations.

“Having drone capability will make a huge difference in the way we protect vulnerable people and gather critical evidence at scenes. This is a really exciting time for the Constabulary which will increase our tactical options to help make Cheshire even safer."