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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 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in all their activities, and UAS 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 600 trained pilots. The police’s unmanned aerial vehicle training consists of three different courses: 

  • UAS pilot training
  • UAS trainer training
  • aviation leadership training.

The police currently have more than 330 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 2021, the police carried out 5,351 flight tasks, of which 3,101 were part of operational police activities. Other flights were for the purposes of training or testing. A total of 2,096 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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A police drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle on the roof of a police car at night.