Unmanned aerial drones should be used to police Britain's skies, a senior police officer said yesterday.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the new National Police Air Service (NPAS), Chief Constable Alex Marshall said it would be a cheaper, and more efficient system than manned aircraft.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by police is a controversial subject, with privacy campaigners insisting they would provide a "big brother" surveillance alternative without the support of someone nearby to help in case of a crime. There are also fears they could collide with civilian aircraft.
Mr Marshall, who is leading the NPAS scheme for the Association of Chief Police Officers, acknowledged there were issues, among them the fact that the Civil Aviation Authority currently restricts use to within line of sight.
In August, NPAS service director Superintendent Richard Watson suggested drones should have been used during the Olympic games and were part of the future but not yet cost-effective enough for widespread use.