Drones help target criminals and locate missing people in Cambs

Cambridgeshire Constabulary invested in three drones last summer.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary invested in three drones last summer, which have since been deployed to assist with 225 incidents. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Three police drones have already flown for more than 66 hours, having been deployed to assist with 225 Cambridgeshire incidents. 

Some of these included helping to catch hare coursers, locate a missing girl and identify stolen properties. 

Targeting criminals, identifying cannabis factories, and locating missing people are just some of the jobs carried out by Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s new mobile eyes in the sky. 

The force’s Rural Crime Team invested in three drones last summer, which have since been deployed to assist with 225 incidents. 

Drones were used by Cambridgeshire Constabulary to locate a missing 15-year-old girl, who they found on the tracks in Manea.

Drones were used by Cambridgeshire Constabulary to locate a missing 15-year-old girl, who they found on the tracks in Manea. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Most recently, they were used to locate a missing 15-year-old girl who they found on the tracks in Manea. 

In March this year, the team were made aware of a stolen caravan in Earith and within an hour located it, along with a stolen trailer in Cottenham. 


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In December last year, a group of off roaders were unable to escape the thermal eye and were located behind trees in Aldreth after having driven illegally over farmers’ fields, removing a bridleway gate post. 

A group of off roaders were unable to escape Cambridgeshire Constabulary's thermal eye last December

A group of off roaders were unable to escape Cambridgeshire Constabulary's thermal eye last December, and were located behind trees thanks to drone footage. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Last summer, the team directed an officer on the ground through thick scrubland to a man who had been missing for several hours. 

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Cambridgeshire police’s drones are fitted with the latest high-definition cameras and thermal imaging technology. 

They give officers a mobile eye in the sky meaning they can scan large areas in a very short time. 

Eight officers are trained to use the drones which can be legally flown to a maximum height of 400ft (120m), a limit which is set by the CAA so drones do not interfere with aircraft which operate above 1000ft. 

Each drone is powered by rechargeable batteries and when fully charged, they can fly for 30 minutes. 

Cambridgeshire police's drones are fitted with the latest high-definition cameras and thermal imaging technology.

Cambridgeshire police's drones are fitted with the latest high-definition cameras and thermal imaging technology. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

PC Sam Thompson, from the team, said: “The drones have proven to be an invaluable addition to the force. 

“They help to keep the county safe by targeting criminals and locating vulnerable people.

“They are often more accessible than the helicopter and cheaper, saving the force around £500,000 a year. 

“We’ve just invested in a new drone which will give us 16 times greater thermal resolution, 32 times zoom, and 16 times thermal zoom. 

“We’ll be able to catch and locate even more people.” 

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