Police used drones over 6,500 times in four years

Police drone

Police drones have been deployed 6,530 times in Norfolk since 2018 - Credit: PA

Increasing use of hi-tech digital crime-fighting technology has seen Norfolk police use drones more than 6,500 times in the last four years. 

It comes as Norfolk is one of the lead forces in a trial of long-range drones allowing officers an eye in the sky to monitor larger rural areas and film suspected criminal activity up to 20 miles away.

There were 1,913 drone deployments in 2021 with use of the technology steadily increasing since 2018, with 6,264 flights in the four-year period since. They were used 266 times in January and February this year. 

Norfolk Police are cracking down on hare coursing. Picture: Ian Burt

Drones have proved a valuable tool in the search for missing people. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk police and crime commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie, who is on the strategic committee of the National Police Air Service, has championed increased drone use.

While assistant chief constable Nick Davison said: “Drones are proving to be excellent in terms of seeing what is going on in really large expanses of rural areas in Norfolk.”

Drones have been used to catch burglars, monitor firearms incidents, cannabis farms and unlicensed music gatherings and to help trace missing and vulnerable people.