32% spike in drone-related incidents sends alarm bells ringing

Norfolk Police drone

Rogue drone pilots have incited a spike in the amount of UAV incidents being reported to the police.

An independent Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that, of police authorities across the UK that responded, there was a 32% increase in the amount of drone-related complaints in 2017, compared to 2016.

The FOI, submitted by Alan Mckenna, an associate law lecturer at the University of Kent, revealed that across the 37 police forces who responded, a total of 4,543 calls were logged in 2017, up from 3,449 calls logged by the same forces in 2016.

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McKenna noted that the actual increase could be marginally higher or lower than the results suggest due to authorities, such as the Metropolitan Police, not submitting data.

While it is suspected that many of the complaints received by the police are regarding hobbyist systems, members from within the commercial drone industry have previously warned that consumers flying outside of regulations threaten the progression of the professional sector.

Ian Titchener, founder of Ely Aviation, told Commercial Drone Professional: “Later this year the government is set to raise the bar by regulating drone ownership, and ease of access some people have to the technology will be made more difficult and expensive. Along with this, the regulations will be highlighted to the entire country, including that in order to carry out a commercial function you need to be, or hire a qualified pilot who is insured and has the appropriate permissions in place and also the consequences for those who ignore the rules.”

It has also been suggested that in order to encourage more responsible piloting from consumers, commercial pilots should act as role models.

The CAA’S Jonathan Nicholson, assistant director of communications, said: “We need people to follow the rules, follow the regulations, particularly for non-commercial users who need to follow the drone code, and commercial users need to set an example, as ambassadors, to help explain what they can do. But also we want them to set a good example to others.

“We want people to think drones are good and useful and operate safely to perform valuable jobs and are great hobbies, not having people thinking drones are dangerous.”

Tags : CAACivil Aviation AuthoritydronesEly Aviationhobbyists
Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder

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