Officers bring nuisance drone operator down to earth with safety training and lesson from resident
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A man who illegally flew a drone over properties in Cirencester had to meet one of the residents and undergo training as part of a successful restorative justice outcome.
The man, from Swindon, was identified when officers from the Constabulary’s rural crime team traced technical information on the internet following the incident in spring this year.
It was then agreed between the main victim and the offender that they would meet so that the man could listen to the distress, fear and anxiety caused by the invasion of privacy and that he would also take part in training that covered various safety scenarios.
The meeting and training took place in July.
PC Ash Weller, from Gloucestershire Constabulary’s rural and environmental crime team, said: “This was a great success with the male admitting he had not taken into account the feelings of the residents in the area and the potential impact on their personal lives.
"The victim was very grateful to have the opportunity to voice their concerns and hoped, moving forward, that the man and other drone operators would learn from his experience.
‘Drones are becoming more popular, they are good fun and a great tool to get some incredible videos or pictures. However they can be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.
"If you are using a drone in public and it weighs more than 250 grams you will have to register the drone and take an online test with the CAA ( Civil Aviation Authority ), unless you have a registered exemption with them - it’s the law.
"I’ve noticed an increase of drones being used in and around Cirencester town centre, as well as seeing the pictures from drones being shown on local Facebook sites. Any suspected offences or breaches of the legislation (Air Navigation Order) will be investigated and the drone operator will be asked to account for their actions.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said, “Restorative justice is proven to be a very effective way of bringing home to an offender the harm they have done. Having to confront those who have suffered is often more effective than some other forms of punishment.
“It is definitely not a soft option while giving victims the opportunity to be involved throughout the process can also give them greater satisfaction.
“Restorative Gloucestershire has won awards for its work in this area and sets the standard for others to follow.”