New police powers to tackle illegal use of drones unveiled by Department for Transport

The Government is moving forward with plans to give police new powers to tackle drones misuse and abuse with the publication of its considered response to the drones consultation exercise. New legislation will give police officers the power to land drones, search premises and seize drones and will require users to produce the proper documentation.

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 deter drones from flying around sensitive sites, including airports and prisons, and develop a range of options to respond to drones, in turn helping to prevent a repeat of incidents such as that recently experienced at Gatwick Airport.

Important safety proposals being taken forward include better protection for airports by significantly extending the area around them 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.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has made a detailed statement in the House of Commons.

Aviation minister Liz Sugg said: “Drones have the potential to bring significant benefits and opportunities, but with the speed of technological advancement comes risk. 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 powers will help to 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 registration documents to operate a drone legally.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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