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Unmanned aerial vehicles

Unmanned aerial vehicles

In a short period of time, the police have risen to become the most active user of unmanned aerial vehicles in Finland.

The police make use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in all their activities, and RPAS have become everyday tools for the police alongside many more traditional technologies. 

Training and equipment

The goal of using unmanned aerial vehicles is primarily to support and replace the work done by humans. Unmanned aerial vehicles are used to raise the productivity of police work, further its quality and improve workplace safety. Every police department has unmanned aerial vehicles and a sufficient number of trained police officers to operate them. 

Currently, the police have more than 400 trained pilots, and the number of licenced unmanned aerial vehicle pilots is set to exceed 500 by the end of 2020. The police’s unmanned aerial vehicle training consists of three different courses: 

  • RPAS pilot training
  • RPAS trainer training
  • and aviation leadership training, added in 2019.

The police currently have more than 220 unmanned aerial systems in use. The majority of the systems are small and quickly deployable models. Increasingly often, they travel alongside patrols carrying out monitoring and responding to urgent calls. 

All models are equipped with high-quality cameras. In addition to normal cameras used in daylight, they can be equipped with thermal imaging cameras, spotlights and loudspeakers.

The police’s aviation activities are carefully recorded and entered into statistics

In 2019, the police carried out 4,200 flight tasks, of which 2,037 were part of operational police activities. Other flights were for the purposes of training or testing. A total of 1,701 flight hours were logged.

Operational aviation activities were more or less equally distributed between documentation (such as filming/photographing crime scenes), search (for missing or fleeing persons) and maintaining situational awareness. In this context, maintaining situational awareness consists of transmitting a video feed to the operation’s command post in order to support the control of the operation.

The police have performed a number of large-scale air operations in connection with events such as state visits, Finnish Independence Day and meetings during the EU presidency. 

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