WA government expands police drone fleet

35 drones added to WA Police Air Wing

The West Australian government has announced WA Police will train up to 60 drone pilots over the next two years as it adds up to 35 new remotely piloted aircraft to its fleet.

WA police minister Michelle Roberts said that the drones — which will be equipped with video recording and thermal imaging capabilities, flood lights and speakers — will be used in a wide range of situations including search and rescue, forensic mapping of crime scenes, and a variety of tactical operations.

“This is an important initiative and builds on our work to modernise the WA Police Force and give our officers contemporary equipment to do their job more effectively,” Roberts said in a statement.

“These drones will support a wide range of every day police activities and be especially useful during search and rescue operations in difficult terrain.

“They will also ensure greater safety for our officers when navigating high risk and dangerous situations, by allowing them to quickly deploy a drone to gain greater situational awareness.”

Earlier in November Roberts revealed details of an $8 million contract with Telstra that will see more than 3000 Apple iPhone 11 handsets rolled out to WA Police officers.

According to the WA government the smartphones are equipped with software features supporting a range of police activities, including identity checks, police database queries, capturing evidence and filing reports, as well as a duress function for emergencies.

Last month Queensland Police announced that some motorbike officers in the Forensic Crash Unit would have access to drones to help map crash sites.

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