The force has acquired one drone which will be used to carry out a wide range of tasks including assisting with searches for missing people, policing large scale events, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping officers safe.
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used by many organisations across the world. Regulated in the UK by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), UAVs offer front line officers a different perspective on policing.
There are currently 14 police forces in England and Wales using drones and South Wales Police is the latest force to take advantage of the new technology.
Assistant Chief Constable, Jeremy Vaughan said: “Today marks a new chapter in our fight to prevent, deter and detect crime.
“In recent years South Wales has been affected by deliberate fire setting and nuisance off road bikers. Now that we have the capability to monitor and patrol areas which are geographically challenging we can continue to keep South Wales a safe place in which to work and live.”
CAA regulations state that drone operators must pass a national CAA accredited qualification. Currently the force has 10 trained operators in place, their skills will be used to detect and deter crime across South Wales.
They will complement the service provided by the National Police Air Service and the force has worked closely with them in developing drones within South Wales.
Inspector Frances Williams, South Wales Police added: “Drones offer many benefits that will support our current operational resources. This technology will provide a more cost effective and efficient way of dealing with missing person searches, crime scene photography, and other police activities.
“Using a drone to capture footage on difficult terrain and hard to reach areas will allow officers to gain vital information, quickly, safely, and allow us to respond effectively at the scene.
“Initially drones will be deployed to investigate grass fires and other rural crime and other community-based operations. As their capability develops they will be deployed for more general policing work.”
South Wales Police will initially be utilising drones to prevent and deter rural crime or at pre-planned police operations.