Withdrawing Support for UK Police Drone Operations
Over the past few weeks we have noticed a blanket refusal by the majority of UK Police Forces that operate drones to heed warnings that their approach to using the technology is putting lives at risk.
Police forces in the UK are routinely using drones as a straight replacement for manned air support. Most troubling is when this is used in cases of vulnerable or suicidal missing persons.
There is no evidence to support the police view that drones are effective tools in search and rescue operations. Quite the contrary, there is scientific research which Clear Vision Security Ltd participated in which shows they are far less effective than manned aircraft.
To use ineffective technology in a search and rescue operation manned by staff with little to no training in search and rescue techniques simply to save £1,500 is grossly negligent. We believe human life is priceless and to try and save £1,500 by risking the life of someone’s daughter, son, father, or mother is ethically indefensible.
As such we cannot in any way support the current approach being taken by UK Police Forces in their use of drone technology. We believe that lives are currently being put at risk and will continue to be put at risk on the basis of ill informed assumptions with no scientific evidence to support such an approach.
Likewise we believe that the police National Decision Model would demonstrate that the most appropriate tool for finding vulnerable missing persons is manned aircraft. To attempt to deploy drones in such operations without attempting to call the National Police Air Service for support would not be supported by the NDM and places forces at serious risk of corporate manslaughter charges in the event of a missing person losing their life.
As a company we have made every possible attempt to caution police drone operators of this danger. This has been met with silence and in some cases has resulted in police forces blocking our Twitter account.
Until such time as a national framework is developed to protect the public from the police’s negligent use of drones lives will continue to be put at risk and unfortunately in some cases, lives will be lost.
We have tried to prevent this from happening, but are unable to report any success. As such we formally withdraw any support, both stated or implied, for all UK Police Force use of drones. None of our materials, comments, suggestions, or videos may be used by any UK Police Force. Where they have been used we request that this use ceases with immediate effect.