Day One at ‘Drone School’ for officers

Date published: 18 March 2019 20:02
Dated: 18 March 2019 20:00:43
Today (18 March) 19 officers from across the force started a week-long intense training programme to become Small Unmanned Aircraft operators.

It follows our announcement earlier this year that funding had been approved to develop the force’s drone capability. 

Once training is complete, the force will have 24/7 drone coverage and aircraft will be able to be deployed to help officers with a variety of operations including; major incidents, search operations, crowd monitoring and proactive deployments such as warrants. 

Our trainee pilots have been selected from across all districts and departments, including the roads policing unit, response teams, tasking teams, CID and neighbourhoods. 

This week is not the first time officers have used the equipment, over the last month they have been having flying lessons from our existing drone operators, however this is the start of their formal training and assessment. 

Day One of 'Drone School' started in the classroom; pilots have two full days of tutor-led sessions covering a range of legislation and regulations, then an exam, before practical assessments later in the week.  

Today, our officers covered the below: 

- Air law
- Airspace Operating Principles
- Navigation, charts and map-reading 
- Airmanship and Aviation Safety 
- Deployment planning 
- Airspace management 

PC Mike Ramsden is from Operational Support’s Road Policing Unit and is one of the 19 pilots who started training today: “There is a lot to learn and get your head around, the first morning alone was very intense, but it’s exciting and so good to be learning something new.” 

PC Gordon Sitch is one of South Yorkshire Police’s existing pilots with the Airport Policing Group, he went through the training in May 2017: “Day one is a lot to take on board, there were lots of very serious faces – which is good, it’s serious stuff. 

“This is a great opportunity for these officers, but it’s also a big responsibility going ahead and it’s important they concentrate and work hard this week. I think we witnessed lots of minds being blown today…they’ll be revising hard tonight…” 

You can follow their progress and see them in action by searching #SYPdrones #droneschool 
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