A New Bill Wants to Give Police the Power to Seize Drones

By Tom Pritchard on at

Governments have never been very good at adapting to new technology, mainly because they don't seem to understand it *cough*Amber Rudd*cough*. So it's always a bit of an uphill battle for them, seeing as how tech evolves far faster than they (and the law) can keep up. Drones are a good example of that, and a new bill aims to give police more powers to deal with them - including confiscate them.

The newly unveiled drone bill gives police the power to order operators to ground drones, and then confiscate the drone if they believe it was being used illegally - like flying over a prison or through Gatwick airport. The new law also restates rules passed back in July regarding registration and safety awareness tests.

So in the new bill are rules that say any drone over 250g in weight has to be registered, owners of said drones have to take the safety test, and you'll have to use some sort of app to track your flight and prove that you're not flying through illegal airspace. It also explicitly says that it's illegal to fly drones above 400 feet or near airports.

While police are already using guidelines from government bodies regarding drone usage (like the Civil Aviation Authority), the new bill is designed to make their legal powers much clearer. As Engadget notes, this type of drone regulation is unheard of elsewhere. But seeing as there have been 81 drone-related incidents this year (plus 71 last year and 29 the year before), it's clear some people can't be trusted not to fuck about with their drones. And unlike, say, the USA, people can't exactly shoot down an errant drones that easily. Not unless you're a farmer.

This is why we can't have nice things.

The draft bill is set to be published next spring, after which it will be open to consultation and amendments. [Gov.uk via Engadget]


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