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Hertfordshire’s Police and Fire and Rescue services share drone

The move is the latest collaboration between the force and the fire service to help in missing persons investigations.

Hertfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) have signed an agreement to jointly use a fire service drone to assist at major incidents and searches for high-risk missing people.

The sharing of the drone was achieved through the Hertfordshire Emergency Services Collaboration Board which was created to enable the two services to work more closely together and share resources.

Another agreement signed at the end of last year allows the force to use other HFRS specialist equipment when searching for vulnerable missing people, such as thermal imaging cameras, high level platforms, boats and the Service’s command vehicles.

Both the county council and PCC are exploring opportunities for further collaboration including better use of estates, such as co-locating police and fire headquarters, a joint training base and a better response structure in cases where both services are needed.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Lloyd and Hertfordshire County Council Leader David Williams met at the Joint Emergency Services Academy, in Stevenage, last Friday (24th January) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the use of the drone.

Just hours before, the drone was used to find a 20-year-old man, who went missing at 2am wearing just shorts and boots. He was located by the drone metres away from a train track in Hemel Hempstead, suffering from hypothermia and in need of an ambulance.

The drone will be able to cover a distance seven times quicker than officers on foot and can be used in conditions where it is unsafe for crews to go. It is also cheaper and quicker than calling in the National Police Air Service helicopter.

PCC Lloyd, said: “This agreement marks another step the close collaboration between Police and Fire and Rescue Services, which will deliver benefits for residents now and for years to come.

“The successful drone operation to find the missing man last night, is the perfect example of how time, resources and ultimately lives can be saved with this new shared technology.”

Mr Williams, said: “This new agreement demonstrates yet another way that our fire service and the police are working together more closely. The fire and rescue service has successfully used a drone in its response to incidents for some time, and we are happy to see that firefighters will be using their training to help colleagues in the police find high-risk missing people in the county.”

The drone will continue to be flown by firefighters based at Potters Bar fire station, who currently use it to help provide additional information about incidents to senior commanders.

There are now plans for the police and fire service to jointly fund a new, state-of-the-art drone which will be able to fly in all weathers and stay airborne for longer.

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