The Metropolitan Police has begun an eight-week trial of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone, to support its policing operations, today, Monday, 11 September.
The drone, an Aeryon Skyranger, is being loaned to the Met by Sussex Police.
The drone will be available to 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 will also 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.
Whilst the drone's primary purpose is similar to that of the police helicopters, it has a distinct advantage over the helicopters in its small size and ability to cope with a wider variety of incidents. The drone can operate in adverse weather conditions as well as indoor areas, and can send footage and images back to officers at the scene in real-time.
A comprehensive analysis of the trial will take place at the end of the eight-week trial period.
Commander Simon Bray said: "UAVs are already being used by police forces across the UK; the MPS currently owns one for examining crime scenes.
"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.
"Today we are starting an eight-week trial of the drone, which we hope will assist officers with both day-to-day policing and complex pre-planned operations."