Wales

North Wales Police use drones to fight crime

drones aerial footage of the Gateway to Wales Hotel in Deeside Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Drones were used to capture aerial footage of the Gateway to Wales Hotel fire in Deeside

North Wales Police has become the latest force in Wales to use drones to help in the fight against crime.

Fifteen officers and staff have been trained to use the unmanned aircraft to capture video and images to be used in investigations.

This includes searching for missing people as well as gathering evidence from road traffic investigations and major crime incidents.

Drone were used to investigate a fire at Deeside's Gateway to Wales Hotel.

The team's two drones, which can also carry a thermal imaging camera, have already been used to search for missing people and investigate incidents during a trial last year.

Insp Craig Jones from the force's operational planning unit said they were highly effective in gathering images over difficult terrain or hard to reach areas and helped officers gain information, quickly and safely.

The live images they take can be seen by police on the ground and they were recently used to help firefighters tackle a large blaze at the Gateway to Wales Hotel.

Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption The drones also have thermal imaging cameras which were used to search for hotspots at the Gateway to Wales Hotel fire
Image copyright North Wales Police

Stuart Millington, of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said the ability to see aerial moving images that show fire hotspots was a "significantly useful tool" in ongoing incidents.

An agreement with the force means the fire service can call on the police drone pilots to help them deal with incidents when needed.

North Wales Police's Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard added the drones were a highly cost effective tool in fighting crime and helping communities.

"Being able to launch a drone in the air in a few minutes could help save lives and secure vital evidence if a crime was in progress," he said.

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