West Mids Police collaborates on drone airport launch

16/02/2022

West Midlands Police‘s drone team will provide a demonstration at the launch of what is claimed by its operator to be the world’s first airport for drones.

According to a statement, the demonstration will aim to “showcase the technical innovations of the facility” as infrastructure for take-off and landing. It is also aimed to build public awareness in relation to the benefits of drone technology for use by the emergency services.

The site in question will open in Coventry in late April. It is described by its operator Urban-Air-Port (UAP) as an “urban airport for advanced mobility”.

Speaking of the launch alongside West Midlands Police’s role in it, a spokesperson said: “WMP will be providing specialist knowledge and expertise as part of UAP’s development of its concept of operations, the blueprint for the successful running of the vertiport.”

The spokesperson continued: “This is a significant partnership with the second-largest police force in the country, and the police lead of Coventry. Last year was a busy one for its drone team, with 3,450 flights taking place across the skies of the West Midlands.

“This increase in the use of drones in the fight against crime means the demand for a network of take-off and landing sites across the region is greater than ever, and this is where Urban-Air-Port comes in. Drones offer a zero-emission alternative to helicopter pursuits, and when urgent support is requested, can reach all areas of the West Midlands within minutes.”

West Midlands Police assistant chief constable Mike O’Hara said: “It’s an exciting time for the development of police use of drones. As a force we receive over 2,000 emergency calls a day, so the possibility of using [the technology] to innovate the emergency services sector is endless. Urban-Air-Port will allow us to explore, showcase and implement what the future holds for policing the sky.”

Founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air-Port, Ricky Sandhu, said: “Growing up in Birmingham as a child, I’m delighted to be able to support West Midlands Police’s heroic efforts in keeping us safe, and deploying Air One as a disaster emergency management and security hub for their demonstrations. This is a model we hope to replicate across the country as we enter a Net-Zero-Age.”

The statement went on to outline other key focuses of the event, including community engagement with schools, universities and the general public.

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