PDA

View Full Version : Police drones


Mike Flynn
9th Dec 2017, 01:43
It appears police helicopters are now a threatened species with drones proving to be very efficient and cost effective option.In this story from the Eastern Daily Press a criminal on the run was located using a drone fitted with a thermal imaging camera.

Officers from Great Yarmouth Police were carrying out an operation at an address on Gapton Hall Road at around 6.30am on Wednesday.

The operation involved the use of a thermal image drone - a piece of technology adopted by Norfolk Constabulary on July 31 this year.

Noticing the police presence, wanted man Philip Johnson, 43, clambered from the window of one of the caravans on the site, crawling through the undergrowth and away.

However, the thermal image drone detected his every move, with force drone operator Danny Leach alerting officers at the scene, who were easily able to apprehend him.http://www.edp24.co.uk/polopoly_fs/1.5314011!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/image.jpg

After realising officers were tracking his movements, the drone footage shows Johnson giving up the chase and curling into a ball.

The drone was being operated a short distance away from the scene.

Nathan Clark, chief inspector of Great Yarmouth Police said: “Because of this technology, a wanted man is now in jail who would otherwise have escaped.

“Without it, he almost certainly would have been gone.”

Last week, an appeal for information about Johnson’s whereabouts was published by this newspaper, however, until this point police had been unable to locate him.

Mr Leach said: “We mainly use the drones in search operations and to gather intelligence, as they give us an additional eye in the sky.

“The drones give us almost everything a helicopter can, but without quite as great a cost.”

ian16th
9th Dec 2017, 06:47
The drone was being operated a short distance away from the scene.Yes drones have their uses, I witnessed one being used to examing the outside of a tall building but surely this police case demonstrates the shortcomings of the drone?

Range!

The range of the device is limited by its 'fuel capacity', usually batteries.

Another problem is the range of the 'model aircraft' type controler that is used by the 'pilot'.

Mike Flynn
9th Dec 2017, 07:19
I think we are seeing the early stages of drone use Ian. Most of the police units are off the shelf items but serve the purpose because of their cost effectiveness.

In the case of the story above the bill,for locating the arrested offender, would be several thousand pounds. A lot of police helicopter time is wasted on locating missing persons who in most cases turn up. They were also used for aerial photography of crime sites.

Police chiefs have to justify how and where they spend their budget hence the decline in dedicated force helicopters which only have a limited range. Hence the move to fixed wing.

No doubt larger commercial type drones will emerge soon. Power and gas line patrols being an example of their future uses.

Coastal patrol is an area where larger drones such as the military Predator will be an effective way of 24/7 surveillance.

For tv footage the drone is well on the way to making the helicopter redundant obtaining views no aerial crew can ever hope to shoot.

Windy Militant
9th Dec 2017, 09:54
With the recent reports that ASUs are taking too long to reach incidents due to the lack of numbers and distances required to be travelled to get to the scene, one wonders if we will see the rise of dedicated drone units. much as there are a number of Dog units that can be called on, will we see cruisers at more police stations with drones installed in roof boxes which can be deployed by popping the lid and releasing a couple of latches and straight into action?

PDR1
9th Dec 2017, 10:10
Another problem is the range of the 'model aircraft' type controler that is used by the 'pilot'.

The line-of-sight range of a 'model aircraft' type controler [sic] that is used by the 'pilot' is typically well over 3 miles in standard form and easily extendable to over 10 miles with directional antennas (even at the 'stock' radiated power and PSD levels). Also on the more serious multicopters durations can easily be extended to over an hour if required. And remember that they don't need to transit to and from a target area, unlike a manned helicopter.

PDR

PDR1
9th Dec 2017, 10:13
Coastal patrol is an area where larger drones such as the military Predator will be an effective way of 24/7 surveillance.


Really? what are its benefits over a manned aircraft? It still has a crew with limited duty hours, it still needs an airfield to operate from, and it's substantially more expensive than (say) an Islander to purchase and maintain.

PDR

Uplinker
9th Dec 2017, 11:57
It still has a crew with limited duty hours,

Well, it won’t need to return to base and land for a crew change..........

Coastal patrol will not need an actual Predator. A basic long range drone will all the military hardware and stealth technology stripped out should be vastly cheaper than a craft capable of carrying humans, one would think?

ian16th
9th Dec 2017, 13:59
I think we are seeing the early stages of drone use Ian.


Agreed, as I said, I witnessed a very good real life demonstration on a building site of a high rise building.

I was just pointing out the current shortcomings.

Tashengurt
9th Dec 2017, 15:13
Sooner the better for me.
The hoops we have to jump through now and the reduced likelihood a helicopter will be authorised make drones a sensible option.

PDR1
9th Dec 2017, 15:20
Well, it won’t need to return to base and land for a crew change..........

No, but the permitted maximum crew hours between breaks are much shorter for UAV crew than for aircrew, and there are typically more crew per aircraft as well (I jest ye not).

PDR

Mike Flynn
9th Dec 2017, 17:11
Sooner the better for me.
The hoops we have to jump through now and the reduced likelihood a helicopter will be authorised make drones a sensible option.

I presume from the above you are a part of the police force Tashengurt.

The 'jumping through hoops' scenario suggests cost is a major consideration for control rooms calling in a helicopter and rightly so.

The police need access to all the toys in the box and if cheap drones can achieve similar results to a very expensive piece of kit the taxpayer wins.

Mechta
11th Dec 2017, 00:14
An added benefit of the drones, the electric ones anyway, is that the majority of council taxpayers may get an undisturbed night's sleep instead of listening to 1200hp+ of police helicopter circling at low level. Useful they maybe, but quiet they ain't...

N707ZS
11th Dec 2017, 08:22
They need military surplus ones fully armed.

Pontius Navigator
11th Dec 2017, 09:10
Ian, another advantage of the drone that overcomes your endurance issue is cheapness. The mother ship, which may be a van, could deploy to the scene carrying more than one drone.

strake
11th Dec 2017, 09:26
Ever ready to try new technology, the Gendarmerie here have taken to flying them next to autoroutes - particularly around Bordeaux. Violations are reported to comrades on the ground who stop the offending vehicle (normally speeding trucks) show the driver transmitted video of the offence, whack 'em with a fine and send them on their way. It all plays regularly as 'education' on TV.

ShotOne
11th Dec 2017, 11:35
Not a solution to everything but a very useful arrow to have in the quiver. Major limitation of police helicopters aside from enormous cost is time to arrive on scene. Many incidents done and dusted by then.

Mike Flynn
15th Dec 2017, 08:55
I think the major limitation of police helicopters is cost v result.

Looking at all the police camera action footage most helicopter work is either looking for missing persons ( who most of the time later turn up) or chasing minor criminals wanted for petty crime or stealing cars.

The results rarely justify the cost.

The use of police helicopters over London achieves little more than cameras on the ground to catch knife crime or moped criminals.

Tashengurt
15th Dec 2017, 09:53
Everything in modern policing is about cost.
Take 'single crewing'. There's no Policing argument for it. It's all about money

Mike Flynn
15th Dec 2017, 10:18
Everything in modern policing is about cost.
Take 'single crewing'. There's no Policing argument for it. It's all about money

The police had ' single crewing' fifty years ago. In those days it was called a bobby on the beat or a copper on a bike. As he trundled around his patch he would be gathering what is today probably termed ground based intel or community interaction.

A few decades ago they would lease time on a locally based Jetranger and stick a police observers in the left hand seat. Then they decided they needed a dedicated camera operator in the back and suddenly it was upgrade to twin engined machines with the rapid increase in cost.

Three crewed twin turbine helicopters are seriously expensive bits of kit.

The bottom line is for all the high tech they cannot stop simple muggings from modern day Dick Turpins riding mopeds in London.

There has to be a much more cost effective way of aerial surveilance and drones are another cheap tool in the box.

Gertrude the Wombat
15th Dec 2017, 10:18
Looking at all the police camera action footage most helicopter work is either looking for missing persons ( who most of the time later turn up)
When you report a missing child (who's run off in a sulk and not come home in their usual timeframe) they say "let us know if they haven't come home by 2am - it's not worth sending the helicopter up before then because there are too many infrared false positives".

Mechta
15th Dec 2017, 10:54
I did wonder, when the Police Helicopter was over our local park one evening for an hour or so, looking for a missing woman, how they thought they would spot which was her. I guess they were looking for the only person alone without a dog...

G-CPTN
15th Dec 2017, 11:41
Being in a semi-rural location (although close to an airport) and with a river running through the parish, we occasionally get overflown by the police helicopter searching for (usually elderly) missing persons - though we did have a hunt for bank-robbers who made their escape along the riverside path.
Sadly the mispers were found, inevitably, at the downstream weir - though the helicopter was useful to scour the intermediate river which runs through inaccessible steep-sided countryside - a task that would have taken weeks by which time 'the body' would have been cold.

Of course, nowadays, a drone could achieve the same as the helo at a fraction of the cost - though not as quickly.

Almost by definition, the missing person is first reported missing after nightfall, so the initial (urgent) search has to be done in darkness - difficult to navigate a drone between trees in the dark (although I know they have infra-red night vision capability).

NutLoose
15th Dec 2017, 12:07
Just remember to charge the batteries

£13,000 Merseyside Police drone lost as it crashes into River Mersey - Liverpool Echo (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/13000-merseyside-police-drone-lost-3364040)

Mike Flynn
15th Dec 2017, 12:58
I should point out I have held a PPL (H) for the last 30 years so I am not anti helicopter.

They have their uses most notably in the UK for medivac.

However in most cases police forces can not justify the cost when there are other tools in the box.

G-CPTN
15th Dec 2017, 13:14
However in most cases police forces can not justify the cost when there are other tools in the box.
Until recently, we had a neighbourhood police officer and a PCSO, then the PC was transferred to elsewhere in the county followed by the PCSO being fast tracked for promotion to another county 250 miles away.
Our police station closed two years ago.
Currently, we are 'overseen' by an adjacent beat officer, though we never see any except when one drops in to buy their bait from our 'open all hours' Coop.

(for those unfamiliar with north-east language, 'bait' is 'packed lunch' or 'food on the hoof')

Mike Flynn
15th Dec 2017, 14:37
I feel UK police have lost the plot in their abandonment of communities replaced by remote hubs. Petty crime such as burglaries are now ignored. Yet they still spend a fortune chasing drink drivers and car thieves. This often escalates the situation to the point where human life is at risk. A few helicopter pilots have been very vocal on the demise of the dedicated force helicopters but for tax payers these have not been cost effective.

Sallyann1234
15th Dec 2017, 16:06
I feel UK police have lost the plot in their abandonment of communities replaced by remote hubs. Petty crime such as burglaries are now ignored. Yet they still spend a fortune chasing drink drivers and car thieves. This often escalates the situation to the point where human life is at risk. A few helicopter pilots have been very vocal on the demise of the dedicated force helicopters but for tax payers these have not been cost effective.
They have been forced to retreat from community policing and responding to burglaries and shoplifting, by having millions cut from their budgets.
As for drink drivers, they kill people and should always be a priority.

Tashengurt
15th Dec 2017, 16:29
[QUOTE]Until recently, we had a neighbourhood police officer and a PCSO, then the PC was transferred to elsewhere in the county followed by the PCSO being fast tracked for promotion to another county 250 miles away/QUOTE]

PCSO is a job title, not a rank. There's no promotion structure for them.

Gertrude the Wombat
15th Dec 2017, 16:54
PCSO is a job title, not a rank. There's no promotion structure for them.
In practice there is, they train to become PCs. In far greater numbers, even before the current push, than was expected when PCSOs were invented.

G-CPTN
15th Dec 2017, 16:58
AIUI, this PCSO has been fast-tracked for entry as a PC - somewhat like the degree-entry officers, I believe.

One of the most obvious routes is the “fast track programme”, an accelerated promotion and development scheme that gives graduates with a 2:1 or above the chance to go from police constable to inspector in three years. The scheme is open to both graduates and serving officers, and offers classroom learning as well as operational training and development in a local force.

Tashengurt
15th Dec 2017, 23:48
[QUOTE]AIUI, this PCSO has been fast-tracked for entry as a PC - somewhat like the degree-entry officers, I believe./QUOTE]

That's a career change then. Not a promotion.