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  1. Gatwick Airport: Army called in amid drone chaos 20 December 2018 Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionAbout 10,000 passengers were affected overnight on Wednesday as flights were unable to take off or land The Army has deployed "specialist equipment" to Gatwick Airport as the travel chaos caused by drone activity shows no sign of abating. It comes as Easyjet has cancelled all of its flights from Gatwick for the rest of the day. The airline, the biggest operator at the airport, said there was "no indication" when Gatwick would reopen. Tens of thousands of passengers have been disrupted by drones flying over the airport, one of the UK's busiest. In a tweet, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson had confirmed the military deployment. He said: "The armed forces have a range of unique capabilities and this isn't something we would usually deploy but we are there to assist and do everything we can so that they are in a position to open the airport at the earliest opportunity." Gatwick Airport: Live updates Gatwick's runway has been shut since Wednesday night because devices have been repeatedly flying over the airfield. An Easyjet spokesperson said: "We are making every effort to get people to their destination at this important time of the year, but following reports of drones flying over Gatwick Airport, the runway remains closed and all flights are currently suspended." The airline said it expected disruption to continue into Friday and is advising all passengers to check the status of their flight. Sussex Police said the drone activity was not terror-related but was a "deliberate act" of disruption, using "industrial specification" drones. About 110,000 passengers on 760 flights were due to fly on Thursday. A source at an unnamed airline told the BBC flights were currently cancelled until at least 19:00 GMT, but there are fears the disruption could last for several days. The airport advised that the runway would not open "until it was safe to do so". What happened? The shutdown started just after 21:00 on Wednesday when two drones were spotted flying "over the perimeter fence and into where the runway operates from". The runway briefly reopened at 03:01 on Thursday but was closed again about 45 minutes later due to "a further sighting of drones". The airport said at about 12:00 a drone had been spotted "in the last hour". Gatwick chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe said: "The police are looking for the operator and that is the way to disable the drone." He said police had not wanted to shoot the devices down because of the risk from stray bullets. He said it remained unsafe to reopen the airport after the drone had been spotted too close to the runway. Mr Woodroofe said: "If we were to reopen today we will first repatriate passengers who are in the wrong place which could take several days." The police operation Image copyright Peter Macdiarmid/LNP Image caption Armed police were seen at the airfield More than 20 police units from two forces are searching for the perpetrator, who could face up to five years in jail. Supt Justin Burtenshaw, head of armed policing for Sussex and Surrey, described attempts to catch whoever was controlling the drones as "painstaking" because it was "a difficult and challenging thing to locate them". "Each time we believe we get close to the operator, the drone disappears; when we look to reopen the airfield, the drone reappears," he said. How have passengers been affected? About 10,000 passengers were affected overnight on Wednesday and Gatwick said 110,000 people were due to either take off or land at the airport on Thursday. Incoming planes were diverted to other airports including London Heathrow, Luton, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, Paris and Amsterdam. Crowds of travellers spent the morning waiting inside Gatwick's terminal for updates, while others reported being stuck on grounded planes for hours. Are you waiting for your flight at Gatwick Airport? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. A Gatwick spokeswoman said extra staff had been brought in and the airport was "trying their best" to provide food and water to those who needed it. About 11,000 people are stuck at the airport, Mr Woodroofe said. A number of flights bound for Gatwick were diverted to other airports overnight, including seven to Luton, 11 to Stansted and five to Manchester. Other flights have landed at Cardiff, Birmingham and Southend. The Civil Aviation Authority said it considered this event to be an "extraordinary circumstance", and therefore airlines were not obligated to pay any financial compensation to passengers. Alex Neill, from consumer rights group Which?, said people "may still be entitled to meals, refreshments, hotel accommodation or transfers". Image copyright PA Image caption Flights were diverted to other airports, including Paris and Amsterdam, following the runway closure Kasia Jaworska told the BBC she was travelling from Glasgow to Gatwick with her boyfriend when her flight was diverted to Luton. She said she thought it was "strange" that two drones had led to the closure of the airport. "You would imagine there would be better security in place and emergency action for something like that," she said. Christopher Lister, who had been returning from Kiev, posted a picture of people sleeping "on every seat and across the floors" on board his flight. 'Absolute shambles' at drone-hit airport How can a drone cause so much chaos? Gatwick Airport disruption: Your rights He said the photo was taken six hours after the plane - which was due to arrive at Gatwick - landed in Birmingham. Image Copyright @Listy_cl @Listy_cl Report Image Copyright @Listy_cl @Listy_cl Report Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionPassengers affected by disruption at Gatwick Airport spoke of their frustration. Luke McComiskie, whose flight ended up in Manchester, described chaotic scenes as people tried to find their way home after more than three hours stuck onboard. The 20-year-old, from Aldershot, said: "We got told there would be some arrangements with coaches for us when we get out the terminal. "It was just chaos and they had only two coaches and taxis charging people £600 to get to Gatwick." Image Copyright @eddieboyes1965 @eddieboyes1965 Report Image Copyright @eddieboyes1965 @eddieboyes1965 Report Airports and drones: The law It is illegal to fly a drone within 1km of an airport or airfield boundary and flying above 400ft (120m) - which increases the risk of a collision with a manned aircraft - is also banned. Endangering the safety of an aircraft is a criminal offence which can carry a prison sentence of five years. The number of aircraft incidents involving drones has grown dramatically in the past few years. In 2013 there were zero incidents, compared to almost 100 last year. Civilian drones have grown popular as their price has fallen. Technological improvement has meant components are smaller, faster and cheaper than ever before. The UK Airprox Board assesses incidents involving drones and keeps a log of all reports. In one incident last year, for example, a pilot flying over Manchester saw a red "football-sized" drone passing down the left hand side of the aircraft. In another, a plane leaving Glasgow narrowly missed a drone. The pilot, in that case, said the crew only had three seconds of warning and there was "no time to take avoiding action". Have you been affected by the suspension of flights at Gatwick Airport? Do you have any questions about your consumer rights? You can get in touch by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285 Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Or Upload your pictures/video here Text an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100 Please read our terms & conditions and privacy policy Or use the form below Your contact details Name (optional) Your E-mail address (required) Town & Country (optional) Your telephone number (optional) Comments (required) If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions The BBC's Privacy Policy View the full article
  2. Charles

    Police drones

    There are many new possibilities for the police, to use drones. Some examples: 1. Mini-drones Police-officers could wear foldable mini-drones on their body, weighing about 200 grams. A mini-drone can be controlled via a smart-phone, that can also display it's video-images. The smartphone can send those images to the dispatcher, and to police-collegues on the scene. These mini-drones can be deployed to locate a suspect in a park or on a roof, or to search a building where an armed suspect may hide, or to quickly find a drowning-victim, etc. 2. Fixed-wing VTOL drones Fixed-wing VTOL drones combine high-speed and long endurance, with hovering in place, and 'Vertical Take Of and Landing' (VTOL). They have the shape of a mini-plane, and can weigh less than 4 kgs. They can reach an incident-scene very fast, to record evidence and start pursuit, while police-cars rush to join the pursuit. 3. Tethered drones Tethered drones are tethered with a vertical kevlar or nylon line, to a police-car, police-boat, pole or building. Tethered drones are powered via a thin copper wire, that runs along that kevlar cord. That allows them to be larger than battery-operated drones, and carry heavier equipment, like a video-camera with a radio-controlled telelens. 4. Tethered blimps Tethered blimps (AKA tethered balloons) are filled with helium. They don't need a motor to stay in the air, so they are cheaply operated. They also are tethered to a vertical synthetic line. Tethered drones and tethered balloons could be located at the exit-roads of cities, at a height of 10 to 150 meters, to help detect fleeing suspects. Or above a city-centre, mass-event, disaster-scene, large fire, riot-scene, et cetera.
  3. Footage from the force of the cutting edge drone in flight. Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Police’s 24-hour drone unit, the first in the UK, has finally taken off. The latest in drone technology has been trialed since November 2015 and now the operational unit has been created. Chief Superintendent Jim Nye said: “This is an historic step for the Alliance [of the two forces] and policing in the UK; Drone capability is a cutting edge way to support operational policing across Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. “This technology offers a highly cost effective approach in supporting our officers on the ground in operational policing. “Drones will aid officers as part of missing person searches; crime scene photography; responding to major road traffic collisions; coastal and woodland searches and to combat wildlife crime. “Drones can even help police track and monitor suspects during a firearm or terrorist incident, as it will allow officers to gain vital information, quickly, safely, and allow us to respond effectively at the scene. “Being the first police forces in the country to have a stand-alone, fully operational drone unit is a great source of pride for the Alliance, and proves that we continue to work hard to find innovative ways to adapt to the ever-changing policing landscape.” Drone Team Manager, Andy Hamilton, added: “It is fantastic to see both forces working together to lead the way in utilising new, cutting-edge technology. Having previously been a police officer for 30 years, I have seen how technology has changed and can help us become more efficient in what we are trying to achieve. “An example of this is historically, any aerial photos or videos have been captured by The National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter; this is not always the best use of resources. Instead of always sending a helicopter on an hour’s flight to take a few photos of a crime scene, we can now use a drone to carry out the same task. “Whilst drones will enhancing our roads policing function, I also see this technology being able to complement NPAS by allowing helicopters to be available for more serious incidents across the South West.” The Drone Unit is currently using a DJI Inspire drone equipped with a zoom camera and a thermal imaging to allow for operational use 24 hours a day. Thermal imaging in action The camera is HD/4K quality and can capture both video and still images. We have also purchased a smaller DJI Mavic to test its portability as it is smaller and lighter in weight. Chief Supt Nye said: “At present we have five officers trained across both forces. Over the next twelve months we are aiming to have a further 40 officers having completed their Civil Aviation (CAA) training, allow them to be fully accredited and enable them to operate the drone. “We will also be adding to the number of drones we have as the number of trained officer’s increases.” View on Police Oracle
  4. With the cuts to NPAS, I think now is a good time to open discussion on the use of drones by police forces. I'd be curious to hear what people think about them, as it seems whenever there is a mention of them in the media, people jump on the invasion of privacy bandwagon. However, I cannot see how it's that far removed from a helicopter? I can understand the concerns around fully automated drones patrolling the air, but in cases where a helicopter would usually be bought in, could a small drone usually carried in a vehicle be launched? The technology has come on leaps and bounds!

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