Rising criminal use of drones sparks safety concerns | UK | News

December 31, 2023
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Stalkers are using drones to monitor their victims as crooks increasingly turn to the technology to plan and carry out crime.

Spy-in-the-sky cameras are also being used by organised groups to prepare for raids and burglaries – while drug gangs are monitoring rivals to steal their stocks.

Police have also reported drones hovering over crime scenes, emergency responses and res-tricted sites. It has led to calls for a “remote ID” – a signal the tech sends so the model and its operator can be identified.

Figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority show illegal use of drones grew ten per cent from January to October this year, compared with 2022.

The CAA said: “The Government continues to support the safe and responsible use of drones by legitimate users.”

“But the threat posed by negligent or malicious use is serious and growing.”

“Since November 2020, police have received 18,290 reports of drone flights involving a legal, nuisance, criminal or safety concern. In 2023, from January to October police received 5,005 such reports.”

These included drones being used to drop contraband into prisons, conduct criminal reconnaissance of rivals’ premises, record drug exchanges and commit stalking offences. Other unlawful uses included drone flights in airport flight restriction zones.

The CAA said: “Remote ID will allow for greater understanding of when and where drones are being flown. A clearer picture of the airspace will allow for quicker and easier identification of malicious drone use.”

“It can have a significant impact on the safety and security of the public.”

“Without the implementation of remote ID, dealing with the growing drone misuse will become even more challenging.”



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