Around the world, as commercial drone use grows and regulations develop, countries are faced with the problem of enforcing drone laws. In the U.K., Operation Foreverwing brings together the home office, police and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to act on drone crime.
A CAA press release says that the new campaign is “aimed at clamping down on drone-related crimes, after 336 drone-related incidents were recorded during the last five months in the UK.”
The collaboration could present a model for the rest of the world: bringing enforcement to the local level and clarifying the role of law enforcement in policing drone use. While drone regulations are the responsibility of aviation authorities, drones present a new problem in enforcing those regulations. With a low risk of consequences and the easy availability of powerful drones, aviation authorities have found it difficult to get some owners to comply.
Operation Foreverwing will help make the point in the U.K. “The Police has dedicated drone teams located across the country, tasked with enforcing the law by handing out fines and confiscating drones if people fail to stick to the rules,” says the press release. “With the CAA setting the rules for drone flying, the campaign will raise awareness of the rules while reminding those tempted to break them of the consequences.”
“The use of drones has increased dramatically in recent years and as a result of that we are seeing instances of dangerous and irresponsible flying,” says National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for counter drones, Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi. “If you are a drone owner it is your responsibility to make sure you are following the rules for your own safety and that of others around you.
UK law now dictates that CAA registration is mandatory for operators of drones over 250 grams and all drones other than toys that are fitted with a camera. Failure to register leaves drone users at risk of penalties up to £1,000. The campaign will see more cooperation between the bodies and joint education targeting drone users.
“With close to 200,000 registered drone owners across the UK, the skies are becoming increasingly busy. Our objective is not to stop people having fun or using their drone for business, it’s to make sure that everyone can share the air safely and that means sticking to the rules outlined in the Drone Code,” says Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications, CAA, said. “Drones can cost thousands of pounds, and with fines for breaking the rules, the costs can quickly add up for those failing to comply.”