The British government has acted to give police forces across the country new powers to tackle the misuse of unmanned aircraft, as the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill had its second reading in Parliament on January 27.
The legislation will give the police new powers to land, inspect and seize drones if an offense has been committed and a warrant is secured.
Drone users could also face an on the spot fine for certain offences such as failing to provide evidence that they have the correct permissions and exemptions if found to be flying their device too high or too close to buildings, or failing to provide evidence of competency or registration.
The bill will also grant the Transport Secretary new powers to ensure that airports modernize their airspace, delivering quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said she is confident the new police powers will be used proportionately to both deter careless drone use and to tackle serious, malicious criminal activity.
The bill will give the police new stop and search powers around airports, prisons and other restricted areas. It will amend the Police Act 1997 to allow the police and senior prison authorities to authorize the use of counter-drone measures to combat illegal drone use.
This is the latest action from the British government to ensure drones and other unmanned aircraft are used safely and responsibly. In October 2019, the government published its Counter-drone strategy and in November 2019 it became mandatory for operators of small unmanned aircraft to register themselves and take an online competency test, with 80,000 having registered so far.
The government is also reviewing the U.K.’s approach to tackling the malicious use of drones, including testing and evaluating counter-drone technology.