Guidance on Use of Drones

Guidance on the use of drones – Thames Valley

Thames Valley Police is issuing a reminder about guidance around the use of drones.

The warmer weather encourages the use of drones, which are also known as unmanned aerial vehicles – essentially flying robots.

The aircraft can be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously using inbuilt software-controlled flight plans. Designed for designated purposes by the military, they are becoming increasingly popular among members of the public, particularly in the summertime.
Misuse of a drone can lead to a criminal offence being committed.
If you are considering using a drone for recreational purposes, Thames Valley Police would advise that you consider the following guidance:

  • Do not fly the drone above 400ft in altitude or further than 500metres away from you horizontally.
  • If you wish to fly one that exceeds the limits above, you will need to seek permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – please visit the Q&A section on our website for more details.
  • Avoid flying it within 150metres of a congested area or 50metres of a person or vehicle.
  • Use your common sense and fly safely – making sure you can see the drone at all times.
  • If you are using one with a camera, make sure you inform people before you start recording and be aware of your surroundings.

Drone technology is not unsafe but a minority of users continue to fly them irresponsibly.

Breaches of drone regulations (Article 166 & 167 ANO 2009) are investigated by the police and, while Thames Valley Police would not look to criminalise people for innocent misuse, other enforcement outcomes can be considered.

Further information is available on the CAA website.