UK News: Police 'counter drone' unit will seek to prevent repeat of Gatwick chaos - - PressFrom - United Kingdom

UK News Police 'counter drone' unit will seek to prevent repeat of Gatwick chaos

02:20  21 october  2019
02:20  21 october  2019 Source:

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The UK government will start testing counter - drone technology to avoid a repeat of the chaos at Gatwick before Christmas when drone sightings The police will be able to fine people who commit minor drone offences up to £100. The government will instruct the Civil Aviation Authority to review

This follows the recent Gatwick drone fiasco when, just before Christmas, a spate of drone The UK government has announced new powers for police to tackle illegal use of drone technology But the Gatwick chaos and some trenchant criticism about government complacency about the risks posed

a plane flying high in the air © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

Police are to set up a specialist “counter drone” unit which can track down and interfere with the devices in a bid to avoid a repeat of the Gatwick airport chaos.

It is part of a move to give police forces more powers and resources to crack down on illegal drone use. The mobile unit will respond to incidents across the UK.

Drone sightings at Gatwick last December caused around 1,000 flights to be cancelled or diverted over 36 hours, affecting more than 140,000 passengers in the run-up to Christmas.

screen of a cell phone © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd

A number of other airports have been forced to suspend flights for several hours due to drone activity this year, including Heathrow.

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Shooting down a drone which has caused chaos at Gatwick Airport is a "tactical option" being considered by police . Police have been locked in a game of cat and mouse with the drone , and have received about 50 reports of the device being flown near the airfield since Wednesday evening

Government commits to review laws on use of drones around airports after Tuesday sighting caused one-hour halt.

Drone deterrence

The new police unit could also could also help tackle the use of drones to bring drugs, weapons, phones and other contraband into jails.

The ideas are part of a Government plan to “deter, detect and disrupt the misuse of drones”, the Home Office said.

The police powers will be set out in the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill, which was announced in the Queen's Speech and is due to be presented to Parliament, while other pledges have been set out in a counter-drone strategy.

Work would be carried out with behavioural scientists, law enforcement, and “at-risk” sites to find the best ways of deterring people from using drones maliciously, the strategy said, adding: “We will encourage the public to report instances of drone misuse and equate wider vigilance campaigns with suspicious drone use, as much as other terrorist or criminal activity.

Police to be given powers to combat illegal use of drones

  Police to be given powers to combat illegal use of drones A mobile counter-drone unit will be set up to track down and disable devices which are used maliciously.As part of the plans, a mobile “counter-drone” unit equipped with technology to track down and interfere with the devices will be set up to respond to incidents across the UK.

"Military capability" deployed to counter illegal drone flights at Gatwick Airport has been withdrawn, the Ministry of Defence said. Gatwick said it had spent £5m to prevent future attacks, but would not comment on the nature of the system. Sussex Police said no arrests had been made since a couple

Detectives hunting the Gatwick Airport drone operator have found a damaged device on the airfield, police have confirmed. It comes as the prime suspects in the probe - a man and a woman from nearby Crawley - were released without charge by Sussex Police

”By better publicising prosecutions for drone offences we will make it harder for people to claim ignorance when prosecuted.“

International design standards for manufacturers to fit drones with safety features will also be set.

Drones worth billions

The unmanned aircraft industry is expected to contribute an extra £42 billion to the UK economy by 2030, with more than 76,000 drones expected to be in use by this date, according to the Home Office.

Read more: Rapid increase in near misses with drones

But latest figures showed there were 168 police recorded drone incidents in England and Wales in 2018 and 165 drones were found in prisons in 2016 and 2017, according to the department.

And the UK Airprox Board said there were 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft reported in 2018, up by more than a third on the total of 93 during the previous year.

Analysis by i of drone incidents this year shows that a drone missed the left wing-tip of a Boeing 737 ”by a matter of metres“ at 2,900ft near Leeds Bradford airport in June.

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Police will be given new powers to tackle the illegal use of drones , the government has announced. The area around airports where drones are banned from The government said it would also expand technology to detect and repel drones from sites like airports and prisons, to prevent any repeat of

Police are hunting for the expert drone pilot who has grounded hundreds of planes coming in and out of Gatwick by flying a drone at least ten time. Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said the Government was considering extending police powers to prevent drones causing airport disruption in the future.

In July, a Boeing 777 pilot flying at 2,500ft over Oxfordshire reported a drone ”directly ahead and just below the aircraft“. ”Had it been at our height there would have been insufficient time to manoeuvre to avoid,“ he said.

An information board announces flight disruption at London Gatwick Airport, south of London, on December 20, 2018 after all flights were grounded due to drones flying over the airfield. (Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

No-fly zones around airports were extended from 1km to 5km in March in an effort to prevent disruption.

From the end of November, anyone with a drone weighing more than 250g will need to register it with the Civil Aviation Authority and pass a competency test.

John Lewis has even stopped selling drones amid growing concerns over their misuse and the problems caused at airports.

Security minister Brandon Lewis said: ”This Government is proud of the UK's burgeoning drone industry and we will do all that we can to ensure that the UK firmly establishes itself as a world leader in this industry.

“But to ensure the drone industry can thrive in this country we must be able to crack down effectively on those who would use drones to cause harm or disruption.

”There is no silver bullet to help protect our infrastructure and our citizens from malicious or careless drone use.“

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