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Drones to patrol the skies above London's Olympic Stadium

2012 London Olympics

November 25, 2011 - London

Unmanned drones equipped with surveillance cameras will be flown across the skies of London during next year's Olympic Games.

It is understood that the Metropolitan Police has taken part in discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority over whether they can use small radio controlled devices in heavily built-up areas, as part of efforts to increase their number of "eyes in the sky".

Next year's Olympics will be the largest security operation the Met has ever had to run, as tens of thousands of athletes and millions of spectators flock to the games in Stratford.

According to The Independent, the force's Air Support Unit already has three Eurocopter EC145 helicopters based at Lippitts Hill in Loughton, Essex.

The aircraft are fitted with an array of high definition cameras and thermal imaging equipment, but officers believe small drones will give them the extra capacity to monitor multiple major events if needed.

In the past, the use of surveillance drones by Britain's police forces has had mixed results.

At least four constabularies - Staffordshire, Essex, Merseyside and British Transport Police - are known to have used or trialled drones, which are usually little more than a remote controlled mini-helicopter equipped with cameras. But only one, Staffordshire, still uses one.


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