Police in the London borough of Hackney became the first in the capital to use a drone to search for a high-risk missing person on Tuesday.
The search was part of an eight-week trial being conducted by London's Metropolitan Police Force, in which drones are being deployed for a number of reasons, including serious traffic collisions, searches for suspects, weapon sweeps and identification of cannabis factories.
In this case, the drone did not help the officers find the missing person. However, it did allow the police to quickly survey a large, open space, saving both time and manpower, according to a tweet by Hackney Police.
The drone used in the trial is an Aeryon Skyranger, which will be used in much the same way police helicopters are used. The advantage of the drone over the helicopter is that it should be able to help in a wider variety of incidents, due to its small size and ability to operate in adverse weather conditions.
"We are committed to working with technology that can assist our officers with the wide range of often difficult and dangerous incidents they deal with on a daily basis," said the Met's Commander Simon Bray in a statement.