New police and fire service drone takes to the skies above Hertfordshire
A new drone is being deployed across Hertfordshire to support the work of the county’s police and fire and rescue service.
The high-spec eye in the sky will be used to help find missing people, photograph crime scenes and monitor major incidents.
The Sky Mantis, based at Potters Bar, can fly in any weather for an hour, reach an altitude of 100m (328ft) and be operated from 400m (0.25 miles) away. It is equipped with two HD 30X zoom cameras which have thermal imaging capabilities.
The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) searches an area seven times quicker than officers on foot and can be used in conditions where it is unsafe for helicopters or crews to go.
It was put through its paces at a training exercise at Hertfordshire police headquarters in Stanborough, Welwyn Garden City, where Herts Fire and Rescue Service’s senior officers are also based.
Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “This new drone is another example of how closer collaboration between police and fire and rescue services can deliver benefits and keep the people of Hertfordshire safer.
“There are clear benefits of closer integration between our blue-light services and we've established a strong partnership with Hertfordshire County Council [which funds the fire service] to continue to make this ambitious programme happen.”
Hertfordshire County Council leader Cllr Richard Roberts said: “This fantastic new drone, which will be... used by firefighters and police officers to tackle a range of incidents, is an exciting new step in our journey of collaboration with police colleagues. We are committed to working together across many areas to improve the safety of Hertfordshire residents.”
Chief Constable Charlie Hall added: “The capacity of this new drone is very impressive and it promises to be an invaluable asset to those colleagues working on the ground.
“As technology continues to improve, drones are becoming an increasingly important asset to policing; for example, assisting missing person searches or aerial photography of crime scenes. My thanks to everyone involved in getting this latest drone up and airborne.”
Herts Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen, who retires at the end of July, said: “The fire service will use this drone to give incident commanders an overview of the scene they're attending. Having an aerial view of a fire scene can help us gauge the size of the emergency, help us decide whether we need more firefighters to support our response, as well as assisting in identifying what tactics to use to tackle the incident.
“Firefighters at Potters Bar have specialist training to operate the new drone, and as part of an agreement between the county council and the constabulary, we're happy to assist police colleagues in their important work to locate missing persons and other life-saving activities alongside our own vital work to keep the public safe during a range of emergencies.”