The drone unit at Wiltshire Police has received a top national award following its operational support over the last twelve months.
The Special Constabulary Drone team took home the Technical Innovation Award at the Home Office Lord Ferrers ceremony yesterday.
The team of volunteers within the unit scooped the prize for providing 24/7 on-call cover to operational policing.
The group act as an eye in the sky for the police service in incidents such as missing people, road traffic collisions dangerous environments such as collapsed buildings and firearms.
The team, who have now been operating for over a year and a half, proposed the initiative to the Force due to their own interest in drones and seeing the potential support they could offer.
Special superintendent Rachel Oaten leads the Special Constabulary and is part of the team. She said: “On behalf of the team I would like to say how honoured we all are to have won this award. As special constables we are pleased to offer support to operational policing in any way we can, but it is great to be able to use our interests, skills and experience to offer a service which can have such a significant impact on individuals and the community.”
She added: “When we first started the team we couldn’t anticipate how successful it would be, but we always had the support of the Force and I would like to thank them for their belief in our vision and in this team.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, was pleased the unit had received recognition for the valuable work they do.
He said: “I am delighted that the Wiltshire Police drone unit has won this national award. It’s a real feather in the cap for our Special Constabulary. Volunteers play a pivotal role in our Force. This ‘eye in the sky’ technology helps police and other emergency services on the ground to find casualties, enabling life-saving first aid to be given.
He continued: “As well as safeguarding vulnerable people, our experienced drone pilots can help to track down offenders seeking to evade arrest. I am committed to keeping Wiltshire Police at the forefront of modern technology and leading the way with innovation to maintain Wiltshire as one of the safest places in the country to live.”