British Safety Agencies Storm Drone Rush

SkyFuturesPublic-safety agencies in Great Britain are adopting drone technology at an astounding rate, a new media report reveals.

According to Sky News, “two thirds of fire services in the UK and half of police forces are now using drones or are planning to.”

Wales and England are leading the way and many agencies use drone training companies such as Sky-Futures to earn their wings for public service. The drone inspection service and UAV training firm has trained more than 10 public-safety agencies over the past nine months.

Sky-Futures drone trainer Frankie Suarez told Sky News that adapting a training program for emergency agencies required a new strategy for the firm – since most of their work involves oil and gas pipeline inspection.

“Initially we made scenarios specifically for each service but after a couple of courses we realized they were all interlinking and working together so we managed to develop scenarios that are relevant to what the guys will attend to. We have a marauding gunman terrorist scenario, which is fairly relevant these days, as well as a train crash, a downed aircraft, and a missing Alzheimer’s patient, among others.”

And, as drone use expands, British officials are on board when it comes to bolstering budgets. Sky News reports that police agencies in Sussex and Surrey have received more than $350,000 in grants from the Home Office to establish a drone patrol around Gatwick Airport.

In a recent DRONELIFE article, Steve Barry of the British National Police Chiefs’ Council said police agencies had also completed a trial in Surrey and Sussex and he felt UAVs “can be efficient and effective” in sniffing out fleeing suspects and keeping an eye on potential sieges

As with any new government initiative, regulators face a fresh challenge in establishing policy. According to a recent report, around 25 percent of the combined 43 United Kingdom police agencies are hammering out a set of guidelines for governing the use of drones for a wide array of law-enforcement tactics including burglary investigations and hostage situational analysis.

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