How police use drones to give new perspective on murder scenes and in the hunt for criminals | poll

NEW TOOL: Senior Constable Mark Gallucci, of the Newcastle police rescue squad, operates a drone at Carrington on Thursday. Picture: Brodie Owen.
NEW TOOL: Senior Constable Mark Gallucci, of the Newcastle police rescue squad, operates a drone at Carrington on Thursday. Picture: Brodie Owen.

THE latest police weapon comes free of a holster and trigger.

And so quickly have drones become a favoured tool of choice for such a wide range of police operations, that their full potential is yet to be reached.

Since Newcastle’s police rescue squad took possession of their drone early last year, they have used it in everything from giving investigators another view of murder scenes and serious car accidents to helping with large-scale searches.

And on Wednesday afternoon, they even used a drone to help flush out a man who had allegedly given police the slip and run into backyards after giving officers a dodgy name.

When a police dog could not pick up a scent on Glebe Road at Adamstown about midday, the drone was called in.

It flew over backyards and side streets where the suspect was believed to have run towards after breaking the tackle of an officer.

The wanted man, 28, was later found hiding in a Popran Road carport and arrested before being charged over three outstanding warrants and escaping lawful custody.

The man, from Narrabri, was refused bail and will appear in Newcastle Local Court on Friday.

“The drone didn’t catch the guy, but it is another example of what it is capable of doing,’’ Newcastle rescue squad Sergeant John King said.

“We are able to give police another view which they have not had before.’’

It has been used to help gather aerial evidence at the high-profile Ricky Slater-Dickson death at Hamilton and has been in the air to record the scenes of numerous fatal road crashes.

It has also been used for cliff rescues and bushland searches and was an integral tool in helping investigators look into a spate of arson attacks which had sparked massive bushfires that threatened several Coalfields towns during the horrific summer fire season.

As well as recording video, the drone also has the capacity to take high-resolution photographs.

“It’s a better view than Google Earth, a clearer image, it gives us an advantage of a bird’s eye view of a scene rather than just from the ground,’’ Sergeant King said.

“They give another perspective.

“It can also be used to take images from positions we would have traditionally had to get to.

“Instead of us climbing structures and putting ourselves at risk, we can send the drone up.’’

All of the rescue squad’s drone operators have to pass stringent training courses and operate within tight regulations and guidelines while using the machines.