MERSEYSIDE police made the first ever arrest in the UK using a flying drone to catch a suspected car thief in thick fog.

It swooped into action in Litherland to find a suspect who was hiding at night in poor visibility.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) acts as a flying CCTV and thermal imaging camera.

It was deployed on January 26 when it was reported that two men had stolen a Renault Clio in Bootle.

After a police car chase the suspects bailed out of the Clio.

Officers were able to detain one of the suspects, but struggled to find the second man in the dark.

But using the UAV's onboard thermal imaging technology, its operator was able to use live images of the suspect’s body-heat to direct patrols to the spot by the canal where he was lying.

The force became the first in the UK to trial the drones in 2007, and since then has used them to assist in search and rescue operations, search warrants and to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

They are operated by the force’s anti-social behaviour task force and directed from the ground by remote control, providing the force with a cheaper alternative to the police helicopter when aerial surveillance is needed.

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Comment by CrashingDutchman on February 11, 2010 at 4:43am
What I would like to know if Police is allowed to fly over populated/crowded area's. I know we are not, are we?
Comment by benjamin1254 on February 11, 2010 at 4:49am
i know state side (*usa*) if you do it it can be a hefty fine but it seems as though its fine if gov, agencies do it for whatever reason. so i would say no we are not able to do so. We can fly in fields under 400 ft and if its within visual range but for other countries idk what the restrictions are.
Comment by CrashingDutchman on February 11, 2010 at 5:00am
I remember that maye a year (or longer) ago, some police department in the USA wanted to use some kind of drone, but they were not allowed to do it. It was somewhere on rcgroups, if I recall well.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on February 11, 2010 at 6:38am
Yes they are allowed over built up areas and people in the UK. No we are not.
Comment by CrashingDutchman on February 11, 2010 at 7:10am
some people are more equal than others

Comment by Rory Paul on February 11, 2010 at 8:35am
The UAV developers dream...a drone in every squad car...however I think that the criminals will get in on the act...that story out of Taiwan recently...
Comment by Matthew M on February 11, 2010 at 11:10am
".that story out of Taiwan recently... " What story?
Comment by Marv2097 on February 11, 2010 at 12:19pm
The police trailled the use of quad copters back in 2007 at the V festival. See the links below.

I wonder what regulations the police use to allow the use over crowds/built up areas. I bet they dont file a flight plan with the ATC??
Comment by Breaksbassbleeps on February 11, 2010 at 2:08pm
Blimey, I didn't know our rozzers were even that ahead of the game. That was only down the road from me too. Gonna keep my eyes open.
Comment by Mike on February 12, 2010 at 3:03am
Scousers - we are always ahead of the game! Brings another meaning to 'You'll Never Walk Alone' though!


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