Eyes in the sky

Victoria Police members will soon have access to drone technology with the establishment of the first ever Drone Unit.
Senior Sergeant Peter Carey of Castlemaine Police said he had not yet been briefed as yet to where the drones would be located regionally, but Bendigo would be a likely location.
“This will give us the ability to have a drone in the air locally within 30-40 minutes,” he said.
Sen Sgt Carey said he saw the implementation of the new unit as a real opportunity to increase service delivery.
“The opportunities are endless, but based upon local experience I certainly see a need regarding missing persons (such as bushwalkers), emergency management situations such as fire and flood, motor vehicle collisions, crime scenes and event management,” he said.
“Currently we rely on the Police Airwing, and while this service won’t be replaced, it will complement what they can do and at a fraction of the cost.”
Police Air Wing will be the central point for the organisation’s drone services, and will manage the drones and also provide the training to other units.
The Drone Unit will aim to progressively train officers from specialist units such as Operations Response Unit and Search and Rescue, along with regional officers to provide their own localised basic drone services.
Inspector Craig Shepherd said the addition of mobile eyes in the sky would be a boost to the capability of police across the state.
“The introduction of this unit is expected to enhance the work our police do every day, from attending crimes scenes, managing emergency situations, public order management, search and rescue and situational awareness,” Insp Shepherd said.
“The drones we plan to use will have a 24/7 ability, with high-end technology allowing for both day and night camera vision.
“It will also assist when police attend emergency situations with the ability to fly a drone in to provide advice to someone in a tricky situation or supply first aid equipment or water.”
Victoria Police aims to acquire up to 50 drones over the next 12 months to be used by the new Drone Unit as well as specialist areas and regional officers.
It is expected the Drone Unit will be fully established by the end of August.

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