Hackney police are the first in London to use drones during a search for a missing person.
The drone, an Aeryon Skyranger, is currently on loan to the Met from the Sussex Police for a eight-week trial starting this week.
Hackney police said the drone is “saving time and manpower” and is being used to “search open spaces quickly.”
They also said the drone will be used when the usual police helicopters are not available but they won’t be replacing them entirely.
The drone has some advantages over a helicopter as it’s small in size and has the ability to cope with a wider variety of incidents. The drone can operate in adverse weather conditions as well as indoor areas, and can also send footage and images back to officers at the scene in real-time.
Police can deploy the drone from midday until midnight and will primarily be used by officers dealing with incidents where air support would be of use, such as high risk missing people, serious traffic collisions, searches for suspects, weapon sweeps and identification of cannabis factories.
The drone can also be used to provide aerial support for pre-planned and spontaneous firearms operations and surveying premises, as well as providing live footage of operational deployments to assist ground commanders’ decision making.
Commander Simon Bray said “We are committed to working with technology that can assist our officers with the wide range of often difficult and dangerous incidents they deal with on a daily basis.”
The missing person wasn’t found.