The use of drones to tackle rural crime in south Suffolk has been hailed by an MP as an example of the technology’s positive impact, following last month’s incident at Gatwick Airport.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge praised Suffolk Constabulary’s purchase of a drone to combat hare coursing, when he spoke in the House of Commons this week during a statement on new police powers to crack down on illegal drone use.
The measures were announced by the Government, after flights from Gatwick had to be suspended for more than 36 hours in December, due to drones flying over the airfield.
But Mr Cartlidge, who held a rural crime summit in Lavenham in the lead up to Christmas, sought to highlight the benefits that drone technology can have, citing Suffolk Police’s fight against the growing problem of hare coursing.
Farmers have been ramping up security in recent weeks, after several reports of gangs with dogs illegally using land in Lavenham, Monks Eleigh and Preston for coursing.
In one incident, a farmer near Lavenham was reportedly threatened by a group of men, who told him they would set fire to his farm if he interfered with them.
Last Monday, Mr Cartlidge asked the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, if he agreed that drone technology offered great potential for fighting crime, despite the recent incident at Gatwick.
“I was very concerned to hear about the incidents at Gatwick Airport before Christmas, and was pleased to hear that the Government is working to provide new powers to the police, so that they can better deal with the illegal flying of drones in the future,” he said.
“That said, drones are not only an important technological development, but also a valuable resource in the fight against criminality
“For example, when I held a meeting between the police and local farmers before Christmas, I was told about the rural crime unit’s use of a drone to track hare coursers, as they moved across south Suffolk countryside.
“It is clear that the Government will need to carve out legislation that cracks down on the illegal use of drones, while still enabling the power of these new technologies to be harnessed for the good of society.
“I believe that the Secretary of State’s statement demonstrates their commitment to do just that.”
Published by Suffolk Free Press.