The value of UAVs in major criminal investigations and police work has been reiterated after it was revealed that drones are being deployed in a bid to uncover vital evidence in the Salisbury nerve agent investigation.
Wiltshire Police has bought in two UAVs to search a children’s play area for Novichok canister.
Dawn Sturgess, 44, and boyfriend Charles Rowley, 45, are believed to have fallen ill after finding a vial, syringe or tub used to carry the nerve agent in Salisbury. Ms Sturgess tragically passed away yesterday.
Wiltshire Police officers stood guard at each of the entrances to Queen Elizabeth Gardens and a specialist team from the Unmanned Aviation Surveillance Group surveyed the area using police drones.
A police officer at the scene said drones were being used to survey the gardens and to gather pictures for police briefings.
The force’s Twitter account confirmed: “Two of our pilots have been in Salisbury and Amesbury for most of the day assisting with photos of the numerous scenes from the recent major incident.”
Wiltshire Police has two DJI Inspire 1 drones that can be equipped with a HD camera or a thermal imaging camera. Each of the UAVs have approximately 18 minutes of flight time per battery and a top speed of 49mph.
The total initial set up cost was £30,000 for aircraft, two non-standard high definition optical zoom cameras, two thermal imaging cameras and six pilots PfCOs, including all administrative costs.