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Express & Star comment: Regulation of drones necessary

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

There is no doubt that when used in appropriate circumstances, drones have the capacity to improve certain aspects of our lives.

A drone

They can help to save lives in emergencies, provide internet connectivity for people in rural locations and revolutionise how we transport goods.

Some of the images that have been produced thanks to drone technology are truly breathtaking, as readers of this newspaper in recent weeks will have seen.

However, the use of drones must be properly regulated.

The number of crimes involving this technology is on the increase, with police forces receiving more and more complaints about drones with each passing year.

Hundreds of incidents have been reported to forces in the West Midlands and Staffordshire over the last 12 months.

In the wrong hands drones can be extremely dangerous.

We have seen numerous reports of them being used to transport drugs into prisons – an problem that is particularly acute in Staffordshire.

Meanwhile other incidents have seen drones being raced through the skies, posing a danger to aircraft.

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The fact that their use also carries a potential privacy intrusion should not be overlooked.

Drone technology is moving forward at a rapid pace and their popularity and availability continues to increase.

As they continue to drop in price, more people will be able to own the technology.

Up to now the Government's reaction has not been as stringent as it should be.

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The 'drone code', which outlines basic rules relating to use of the unmanned crafts, is still largely ignored by too many people.

Soon, all drones above a certain weight will have to be registered.

But many people still believe they can fly them wherever they want.

This is not the case, yet some will continue to break the law – whether it be by accident or deliberately – until a comprehensive strategy is put in place.

It is up to the Government to take action.

With Theresa May's struggles with Brexit, the spiralling crime rate and the crisis surrounding the NHS, drone regulation is unlikely to be a priority.

But under no circumstances should it be overlooked.

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