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UAVs / Drones (442A/20)


1) Does West Midlands Police

a) own unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones? if so, how many, and what type/make?

b) sub-contract UAV services from an outside body, company, or other police force for police operations? If so, which body/company/forces and what type/make are used?

2) How many times have West Midlands Police used drones for police operations since Jan 2020 (please can you provide monthly figures)? If answering this question would exceed costs limits, a monthly estimate would be sufficient, but please confirm figures are estimated. Can you describe the type of operations in which drones have been used (i.e. public order, missing person search, etc.)?

3) Did West Midlands Police utilize the changes brought in by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) between 8 April 2020 and 6 May 2020 to allow greater flexibility in the use of UAVs by the police in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak, and if so on how many occasions?

4) Have any complaints been lodged with West Midlands Police about their use of UAVs in the last 6 months?


Please find attached our response with regard to the OVERT use of Drones / Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS).

In addition, with regard to any information relating to the COVERT use of Drones / Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS), West Midlands Police neither confirms nor denies that it holds any other information relevant to this request by virtue of the following exemptions:

Section 23(5) – Information supplied by, or relating to, bodies dealing with security matters

Section 24(2) – National security

Section 31(3) – Law enforcement

Section 23 is an absolute class-based exemption and there is no requirement to conduct a harm or public interest test.

Sections 24 and 31 are prejudice based, qualified exemptions and there is a requirement to articulate the harm that would be caused in confirming or denying that any other information is held as well as carrying out a public interest test. Please find this PIT attached (442A_PIT).