Police in Lincolnshire, U.K. used a drone fitted with a thermal imaging camera to find a 16-year-old alleged rape victim who was unable to give her exact location.
The girl called the emergency services during her ordeal with her reported attacker, but was not able to say precisely where she was. Using the description that she gave of her immediate surroundings, police were able to then use a DJI Inspire 1 fitted with a thermal imaging camera to guide officers to her exact location. Police reported on October 7 that the man has been released without charge.
A few days beforehand, the same police force used a drone and its thermal imaging camera to help officers locate a man with dementia. In a similar incident last month, police in Fort Wayne, Indiana spent 11 hours searching for an elderly lady in Pokagon State Park before deploying a drone which found her in just half an hour.
Use of drones by police is becoming increasingly common as technological advances make their use both more efficient and affordable. Regarding the alleged rape victim, the police might previously have used a helicopter; using a drone instead allows for massive cost savings.
Lincolnshire Police use a DJI Inspire 1, which gives them approximately 15 minutes of flight time on a single battery, with battery changes taking only 30 seconds. The force has spent a total of £11,000 on drone equipment in the last 13 months, which has created huge savings given that getting a helicopter in the air can cost upwards of £2,800 per hour.
Lead image: Joshua Fuller via Unsplash.