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Police to get anti-drone powers

POLICE will be given more powers and resources to crack down on illegal drone use, in a bid to avoid a repeat of recent chaos the devices have caused at airports.

As part of the plans a mobile “counter-drone” unit, equipped with technology to track down drones and interfere with their functioning, will be set up to respond to incidents across Britain.

The move could also help tackle the use of drones to bring drugs, weapons, phones and other contraband into jails.

Drone sightings at Gatwick in December caused around 1,000 flights to be cancelled or diverted over 36 hours, affecting more than 140,000 passengers in the run-up to Christmas.

A number of other airports have been forced to suspend flights for several hours due to drone activity this year, including at Heathrow.

The ideas are part of a government plan to “deter, detect and disrupt the misuse of drones,” the Home Office said.

The police powers will be set out in the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech and is due to be presented to Parliament, while other pledges have been set out in a counter-drone strategy.

A document setting out the plan said: “Our aim will be to stop malicious and illegal drone use as early as possible, ideally before a drone is used in a crime.

“The government will consider what further product standards or restrictions within the drone sector could reduce risks associated with the misuse of drones without disproportionately affecting legitimate users, setting new international standards.”

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