Coventry Urban Air Port provides West Midlands Police drones with new base

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West Midlands Police is working with Urban-Air Port Limited (UAP), the world’s first operational vertiport for advanced air mobility, to provide a base for crime tackling drones.

The project, which is due to start in April, will see West Midlands Police build an infrastructure network of take-off and landing sites that is designed to boost operations and aid the fight against crime.

With 46 dedicated drone pilots providing a 24/7 service, drones are offering increasing opportunities to help save lives, capture evidence and spot offenders as they try to hide or run away, the police said.

Assistant chief constable, Mike O’Hara, said: “It’s an exciting time for the development of police use of drones. As a force we receive over 2,000 emergency calls a day, so the possibility of using drones to innovate the emergency service sector is endless.

“Urban-Air Port will allow us to explore, showcase and implement what the future holds for policing the sky.”

Last year, the team saw 3,450 flights take place across the skies of the West Midlands. All drones are funded by the Asset Recovery Fund as part of the Proceed of Crimes Act, meaning the technology was paid for by convicted criminal’s cash.

Inspector Mark Colwell, added: “Drones offer a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to gain footage from above. They are helping us in a wide range of applications. While there continues to be a need for a helicopter to carry out high-speed, long-distance pursuits, drones give us the benefit of additional air support at those times when a helicopter cannot be justified.

“We have our fleet of drones strategically located at a number of bases. When urgent support is requested, they can reach all areas of the West Midlands within minutes. They are small enough to fit in a car boot, so can be transported quickly and easily.”

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