Police forces in Devon/Cornwall and Dorset have expanded their fleet with the purchase of a range of specialist UAVs, which will be used primarily in missing person searches, crime scene investigations and fast response to major road traffic collisions.

The drones, which will also help search the forces’ 600 miles of coastline, have been supplied by Leeds-based commercial drone supplier COPTRZ (who specialises in delivering bespoke solutions to the emergency services).

Following a technical and competitive tender process, COPTRZ recommended a complete fleet of bespoke aircraft equipped with optical zoom and thermal imaging capabilities. Devon/Cornwall and Dorset police forces were the first to announce their intentions to employ full-time UAV pilots and create a dedicated drone unit.

Investment in the new drones has followed over 18 months of successful trials across the region. During trials, it was reported that the use of UAVs significantly increased response time and cost effectiveness of the forces’ aerial assets.

Steve Coulson, founder and managing director of COPTRZ, said that the demands of the contract were strict. “However, due to our unique supplier partnerships we have been able to provide a bespoke solution that will prove to be an excellent asset to the police forces in these regions,” he added.