New police powers to tackle illegal use of drones

Date published: 08 January 2019


The government is moving forward with plans to give police new powers to tackle drones misuse and abuse, with the publication of their response to the drones consultation on Monday (7 January 2019).

Following over 5,000 responses to the consultation, new legislation will give police officers the additional power to land drones and require users to produce the proper documentation. The police will have the power to search premises and seize drones - including electronic data stored within the device - where a serious offence has been committed and a warrant is secured.

The Home Office will also begin to test and evaluate the safe use of a range of counter-drone technology in the UK. This crucial technology will detect drones from flying around sensitive sites, including airports and prisons, and develop a range of options to respond to drones, helping to prevent a repeat of incidents such as that recently experienced at Gatwick.

Important safety proposals being taken forward include better protection for our airports by significantly extending the area around airports and runways in which drones are banned from being flown. This builds on the government’s changes to the law last year which made it illegal to fly a drone above 400 feet or within 1 kilometre of an airport.

Aviation Minister, Liz Sugg said: "Drones have the potential to bring significant benefits and opportunities, but with the speed of technological advancement comes risk, and safety and security must be our top priorities.

"That’s why we are giving the police powers to deal with those using drones irresponsibly. Along with additional safety measures these will help ensure the potential of this technology is harnessed in a responsible and safe way."

The police will also be able to issue fixed-penalty notices for minor drone offences to ensure immediate and effective enforcement of vital rules. Fines of up to £100 could be given for offences such as failing to comply with a police officer when instructed to land a drone, or not showing their registration to operate a drone

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