Police have received special permission to conduct drone patrols over the Dorset Heaths, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), with the intention of reducing arson, poaching and antisocial behaviour.
Dorset Police said that UAV technology will offer a bird’s-eye-view of the urban heaths in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council area.
The Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is also a part of the operation.
Crime commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Dorset Police was the first force in the country to recognise the huge potential of this technology by creating a dedicated drone unit.
“A drone is able to view a far larger area, far quicker than an officer on foot would be able to, so this is another excellent example of working in partnership to introduce innovative technology, making the best possible use of resources to protect our natural environment and keep people safe.”
This news comes after a series of large fires in the area in 2018, including one that took 100 firefighters to put out.
Significantly, the area is also a habitat for all six reptiles native to the UK.