The United Kingdom is cracking down on the unsafe and potentially illegal use of drones via the new Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill, which went before the UK’s Parliament for a second reading on January 27. According to an announcement from Parliament, this bill would give UK Police the power to order a drone to land, inspect it and, when applicable, seize it.
This new bill would grant the UK police a variety of new powers, including the option to stop and search drones being operated around airports and prisons, both sensitive locations where drones can be used for everything from drug smuggling to wreaking havoc on society.
As part of an amendment to the Police Act 1997, UK Police forces, as well as ‘senior prison authorities,’ will be granted the powers to use counter-drone measures in cases where drones are being used illegally. As well, this bill would make it possible for police to fine drone operators ‘on the spot’ if they commit certain offenses, including failure to prove that they have the right permissions or exemptions that authorize them to violate any rules they’re caught breaking (flying too close to a particular building, for example).
The UK government stresses that this bill would only impact drone operators who are illegally flying UAVs and who are putting other people at risk. Photographers are specifically mentioned as one of the groups of people who will still be able to operate drones, assuming they follow all of the local laws and regulations, of course.
The full bill, as well as minutes of the proceedings, can be found on Parliament’s website.
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