27 APRIL 2015
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Police guarding London airports will start using drones for surveillance following a security review. An 18-month analysis by the National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters, which helps develop police policy, found the technology could be "transformative".
Following a successful trial at Gatwick over the past year, drones will be given to units guarding Heathrow, Stansted, Luton and City airports.
There are now estimated to be more than 50,000 drones in the UK and the move reflects growing concern over the damage they could cause in the wrong hands.
George Trebess from the National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters said that it was also possible that drones could be used during major incidents, including sieges or standoffs involving firearms. Speaking to security experts at the Counter Terror Expo in London, he said: "The technology is transformative. With the new system we will be able to carry out missions around seven times faster than ground-based activity and at around 10% of the cost.
Emma Carr of Big Brother Watch, which campaigns over state surveillance, called for clear information about how police planned to use the drones. She called for a "better understanding of how they're used and who they're being used by." www.gov.uk/government/organisations/national-counter-terrorism-security-office
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