A police constabulary in Norfolk is introducing aerial drones to tackle local crime following a three-month trial period.
The new equipment will be used to investigate rural crime, monitor demonstrations and search for missing people.
Police said the technology, which can fly for 20 minutes in winds up to 50 mph, has already been used to respond to incidents across the county, including forensic photography at an industrial incident, firearms incidents and searches.
Deputy chief constable, Nick Dean, told the Eastern Daily Press: “While the technology still has its limitations, the option of launching a drone in the air in a few minutes could help save lives and secure evidence if a crime was in progress.
“Drones offer many benefits that complement the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter. This technology offers a highly cost effective approach to help assist our officers.”
Despite the move to equip the constabulary with aerial drones, UAVs will not feature as a standard piece of kit for forces nationwide for the foreseeable future.
PCC Lorne Green said: “For our police to be as efficient and effective as possible, it’s vital they have the right tools. When it comes to tackling the crime affecting our communities in the 21st century, we need to be looking at the 21st century technology available to us.
“For some time now I’ve been calling for Norfolk Police to explore the potential that drones offer. It’s early days but I’m pleased to see the trial is showing signs there are benefits for the Force in the use of drones. I’ll be following the pilot with interest as it continues.”