Game Of Drones For Footie Crowd Control

A drone will be called up tomorrow by West Midlands Police, for the Birmingham City and Aston Villa derby.

Officers will be using the ‘eye in the sky’ technology for the first time during a football policing operation to monitor crowds and any disorder.

The drone - which flies at up to 400ft - is capable of capturing clear, high-definition footage and allows officers to identify any suspects and assist an investigation.

Strict aviation rules mean the drone can’t fly over the stadium and must remain a sufficient distance away from residential properties - but officers will be able to view the area surrounding St Andrews for any flash-points. A spokesperson for the force said:

"This technology is fantastic and has real benefits to modern day policing.

"This is first time we have used a drone in policing a big derby game and it can play an important role in ensuring the safety of the public.

"We have obtained permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Birmingham Air Traffic Control - and although there are strict rules about how it is used - it will enable us to monitor crowds effectively."

Drones, which are small remote controlled cameras which can fly unmanned, can cover a wide area in a short amount of time and capture quality, high definition video in real time. This is then fed back to a monitor or tablet via the Internet and recorded for use as evidence.

The drone is controlled by a trained remote pilot while another officer acts as an observer to ensure the safe flight and monitor the images being captured; which can then be relayed back to officers in the command room.

It forms part of a visible police presence - including club spotters - around the ground to maintain public safety while officers will also patrol in the city centre.

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