Drone Support

West Yorkshire Police Drone Support Team



What are drones/UAVs?

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. The term UAV covers a wide range of systems from the small children’s toy to large military systems. UAVs are most often referred to as drones and this is how the police service refer to them.



What drones do West Yorkshire Police have?

Our drones are small battery-powered rotor systems. Commonly known as quadcopters, they are powered by four electric motors. They take off and land vertically like helicopters.

We have 4 small Tello training drones, five Mavik Pro’s, one Elios Flyability and One Altura Zenith. All weigh less than 6.65kg including the battery and camera. The latter two can operate in all weather conditions and in winds of up to 58 kilometres per hour.



How many drone operators do West Yorkshire Police have?

We currently have 60 operators.



What cameras do they carry?

The systems have the option of carrying the following cameras:

  • Dual daylight/thermal camera
  • Daylight HD 4k camcorder (120x digital zoom)
  • Daylight HD camera (30 x Optical Zoom)



What do we use drones for?

We are using drones to:

  • Assist with searches for missing people
  • Assist with investigations into road traffic collisions, major crime incidents and Industrial Accident investigations.
  • Assist with event planning and management
  • Provide situational awareness to officers and Commanders in a variety of policing situations.

West Yorkshire Police drones are only deployed for specific operational tasks and are not used for general patrol/surveillance. They are not patrolling the skies on a daily basis.



How do we think drones will help deliver a policing service?

Using drones will help us:

  • Use our resources more effectively by having the right resources in the right place at the right time to resolve incidents quickly.
  • Enhance the safety of the public and police by deploying a drone into situations which would otherwise involve risks to individuals.
  • Provide good quality evidence to assist apprehension and prosecution of offenders.
  • Enhance joint working with other Emergency Services.



Do the police have to comply with existing regulation and legislation?

Yes. The Emergency Services need to work within the existing legislation and specific regulation in respect of drone use. We operate in accordance with our permission granted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). All our operators have passed a CAA accredited training course and are qualified remote pilots. We are fully insured by aviation industry specialists.



What about privacy and Data Protection?

All Pilots operate in accordance with the Pilots Code of Conduct, the Surveillance Commissioners Code of Practice, Privacy Impact Assessment and Data Protection Impact Assessment.

Nothing is recorded unless it is for a policing purpose and all images are treated, and stored, in line with existing procedures for Body Worn Video.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has recently conducted an independent review of the drone team and has confidence in how police are using drones.




We have had no complaints in the last 12 months.

In the event you wish to complain or simply want further information, please write to : -

The UAV Operations Manager
c/o West Yorkshire Police Headquarters
Laburnum Road

Telephone: 01924 293133