WA Police Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Expansion Project has reached the Mid West – Gascoyne District, with four local police officers being trained to become police drone Pilots.
The 12-month training program commenced in July 2020 with several police officers from specialist units, such as Major Crash Investigation Section, being trained in the first phase of the training delivery program.
The Mid West – Gascoyne District officers are the fourth group of regional officers to take part in the training, with officers from Great Southern District, South West District and Wheatbelt District trained in recent months. The officers who have been selected to undergo the training are required to complete the same theory and practical training that any other RPAS Pilot needs to complete under CASA requirements.
Upon completion of the training the Mid West – Gascoyne District will be allocated two RPAS assets, or drones, to deploy locally when they are required. The arrival of the new drones will significantly increase local air support capability and the capacity to provide aerial support to local police across the district in a wide range of situations, including the emergency response to situations such as land search and marine search operations.
The local police drones will not replace traditional aircraft deployments, with Police Air Wing and other aircraft still available for emergency needs. The new drones will provide additional options available for immediate deployment and will complement other aircraft deployments.
Superintendent Roger BEER from the Mid West – Gascoyne District Office said the district’s vast coastline and remote inland landscapes make the arrival of district-based drones even more invaluable for local police.
“Each year our officers typically respond to several land search and marine search emergencies and I expect our new police drones will now play a crucial role to our response to those emergencies.
“Our region is popular for tourists who visit our coastal holiday spots and we have many travellers who go beyond Mt Magnet, Meekatharra and Burringurrah. Searches in those locations usually involve significantly large or difficult to access search areas so having these new ‘eyes in the sky’ assets will make a significant difference.”
Police in the Goldfields – Esperance District are next to receive their RPAS Pilot training and drone assets, with the regional training rollout expected to be completed by the end of June 2021. By the end of the training rollout it is expected there will be 60 trained RPAS Pilots and 40 drones deployed across the state.