CASE STUDY: Monitoring Crowds at Sporting Events with Drones


SUMMARY: Unmanned aircraft vehicles can serve as a useful tool to monitor crowds at sporting events. Advanced payloads and sensors can provide an array of useful data back to law enforcement commanders on the ground.

PROBLEM: Sporting events between rival teams can lead to escalating tensions between opposing factions of fans. This is especially true it the UK, when football matches can cause soccer "hooligans" to descend upon the event seeking to cause trouble.

SOLUTION: West Midlands Police (UK) deployed a drone on October 29 to provide surveillance after a tie match between rival clubs Birmingham City and Aston Villa. The UAV mission was to serve as an "eye in the sky" to monitor potential flash points and capture high definition imagery of troublemakers in the streets around the stadium that could later be used as evidence if necessary.

“This technology is fantastic and has real benefits to modern day policing," said Sergeant Keith Holiday of the West Midlands Police. “A drone can cover a wide area in a short amount of time and capture quality, high definition video in real time. This is first time West Midlands Police have used a drone in policing a big derby game and it can play an important role in ensuring the safety of the public."

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