Un­manned drones could pa­trol coast

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

UN­MANNED air­craft could help iden­tify rogue ships in the Chan­nel and track down smug­glers.

It is the prod­uct of an in­dus­try part­ner­ship led by re­gional po­lice forces - in­clud­ing Kent Po­lice - and BAE Sys­tems.

The part­ner­ship is ex­plor­ing what could be the ba­sis for a na­tional scheme that will see un­manned au­ton­o­mous sys­tems be­ing used as part of a co­or­di­nated UK-wide air sup­port pack­age.

The part­ner­ship

brings to­gether a range of agen­cies, in­clud­ing Kent and Es­sex po­lice forces, the UK Bor­der Agency and the Mar­itime and Coast­guard Agency.

An­drew Mel­lors, head of civil au­ton­o­mous sys­tems for BAE Sys­tems, told a Lon­don con­fer­ence: “The part­ner­ship is aimed at mak­ing the most ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient use of re­sources, and en­sur­ing UASs are in­tro­duced into use re­spon­si­bly.”

Chief In­spec­tor Richard Wat­son, re­spon­si­ble for Air Op­er­a­tions for Kent Po­lice, said: “This part­ner­ship is ex­plor­ing new ap­proaches in terms of po­lice avi­a­tion.

“UASs have the po­ten­tial to per­form a sig­nif­i­cant role and it is im­por­tant to work along­side au­thor­i­ties such as the CAA and com­pa­nies like BAE Sys­tems to make sure that any in­tro­duc­tion of th­ese sys­tems is done re­spon­si­bly.”

“It makes good sense for us all to con­trib­ute to it and share the costs and ben­e­fits”.

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