The UK government is moving forward with plans to give police new powers to tackle drones misuse, with the publication of its response to the drones consultation.

Following over 5,000 responses to the consultation, new legislation will give police officers the power to land drones and require users to produce the proper documentation.

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.

Registration and fines

From November this year, drone operators will be required by law to register.

The police will be able to issue fixed-penalty notices for minor drone offences.  Fines of up to £100 could be given for offences such as failing to comply with a police officer when instructed to land a drone, or not showing their registration to operate a drone.

Further proposals being taken forward include significantly extending the area around airports and runways in which drones are banned from being flown. This builds on the government’s changes to the law last year which made it illegal to fly a drone above 400 feet or within 1 kilometre of an airport.

Testing new tech

The Home Office will also begin to test and evaluate a range of counter-drone technology in the UK. This technology aims to detect and deter drones from flying around sensitive sites, including airports and prisons.

The news comes after suspected drone sightings grounded traffic at Gatwick Airport before Christmas.

Aviation Minister, Liz Sugg said: “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.

“That’s why we are giving the police powers to deal with those using drones irresponsibly. Along with additional safety measures these will help ensure the potential of this technology is harnessed in a responsible and safe way.”

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