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British police will have power to seize illegal drones

British drone operators will be legally required to register from November 2019 as ministers confirm plans to give police new powers to tackle drone misuse.

The UK government has confirmed new legislation will give police officers the power to land and seize drones, search premises and request users to produce proper documentation.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “Of course. Many people around the world are trying to find the perfect anti-drone solutions but, as Gatwick airport discovered, the reality is that those technologies are still embryonic.”

The police will have the power to search premises and seize drones — including electronic data stored within the device — where a serious offence has been committed and a warrant is secured.

Mr Greyling said: “We now have in place an assembly of systems that will enable us to deal with an incident such as this again, but there is a lot of work to be done and a lot of work is being done.”

The Home Office will start to test and evaluate safe use of different counter-drone technology in the UK. The technology will detect drones from flying around airports and prisons, developing several ways to respond to drones, and helping to prevent a repeat of what passengers experienced at Gatwick before Christmas last year (2018).

Important suggested safety proposals include better protection for our airports by significantly extending the area of which drones are banned from being flown. This improves changes already made to the law last year, when it became illegal to fly a drone over 400 feet high or within 1km of any airport.

Aviation Minister, Liz Sugg said that drones have the potential to bring significant benefits and opportunities, but with the speed of technological advancement comes risk, and safety and security must be our top priorities.

She said the police will also be able to issue fixed-penalty notices for minor drone offences to ensure immediate and effective enforcement of vital rules.

Fines can be issued of up to £100 for failing to comply with a police officer when instructed to land a drone, or for not showing registration paperwork to operate a drone.

Read the recent publication of the response to the drones consultation.