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Police pioneer drone tactic to catch dangerous drivers

17 April 2023

Devon & Cornwall Police are using drones to help detect driving offences n high harm routes throughout the region as part of a pioneering new project.

They have invested heavily in state-of-the-art drone technology, with equipment capable of operating in high and low temperatures and varying weather conditions. They are also equipped with high resolution cameras with far reaching zoom lenses.

The force’s drone unit is linking up with the roads policing team, road casualty reduction officers and speed detection officers to target unsafe or irresponsible driving and riding.

The operation, launched as part of National Motorcycle Safety Week (April 3rd – 9th), will have a particular focus on motorcyclists after a spate of collisions in 2022 which resulted in the death or serious injury of more than 200 riders across Devon and Cornwall.

Operating in identified by intelligence, the drones will help calculate vehicle speed live using fixed points on the highway. They will also record live video of all incidents, meaning any dangerous or inappropriate driving will be caught on camera.

When a vehicle is detected breaking the law, details will be relayed to officers on the ground, which will allow police to check the MOT, tax and insurance status of the motorbike and whether it is reported as stolen.

Nearby speed detection officers will then use calibrated laser cameras to accurately record the speed of the vehicle before the driver or rider is pulled over by Police road casualty reduction officers.

Depending on the offence detected, the offending motorcyclist will be given words of advice, referred on to a specific training course or issued with a fine and penalty points. In more serious cases, riders will be reported to court for prosecution or arrested on the spot.

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