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It’s the Sweeney! You’re nicked, drones!

News   •   Feb 11, 2016 16:34 GMT

Police interested in using eagles to combat threat of drones

The Metropolitan Police are considering the use of a new Flying Squad to combat crime in the Capital. This time it won’t be the kind made famous by John Thaw and Dennis Waterman as Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Detective Sergeant George Carter foiling back robberies but eagles trained to intercept drones.

Following reports of a number of near misses in the UK skies, including a close call over Parliament between a drone and a jet, the Metropolitan Police are considering using specially trained eagles to take down unauthorised drones.

The scheme has been trialled in the Netherlands by security company, Guard From Above, in conjunction with the Dutch police. Guard From Above released a video showcasing an eagle grabbing a drone from the air with its talons.

The force’s commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe saw the video and liked what he saw and asked a senior officer to investigate its feasibility.

Guard From Above’s CEO, Sjoerd Hoogendoorn, said: “These birds are used to meeting resistance from animals they hunt in the wild, and they don’t seem to have much trouble with the drones.

The trials are proving to be an expensive affair, however, given the cost of drones and the eagles’ propensity for destroying the unmanned aerial vehicles.

Mr Hoogendoorn said: “The real problem we have is that they destroy a lot of drones; it’s a major cost of testing.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police commented: ““As would be expected in an organisation that is transforming we take an interest in all innovative new ideas and will of course be looking at the work of the Dutch police use of eagles.”

The misuse of drones has hit the headline in recent months. In November, the Ministry of Justice reported that a drone had been recovered by prison guards at HMP Manchester that had been used to smuggle mobile phones, SIM cards and drugs.

It has also been suggested by London-based think tank, the Remote Control Project, that drones could be used to carry out terrorist attacks.

Further trials will be required before the British or Dutch Police have the eagles policing the skies with a decision expected by the end of the year.

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