Police commissioner expects ministers to ‘up our game’ after Gatwick drone chaos

Ministers will seek to “up our game” and work more closely with others over airport security following the drone chaos at Gatwick Airport, according to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

Cressida Dick said she expects the military and private companies will be involved as the Government seeks to prevent the “criminal use” of drones near UK airports, including speeding up efforts to get a drone under control.

She confirmed the Metropolitan Police has a role in the Gatwick investigation and is supporting Sussex Police, although dismissed suggestions it should now take command as a “very odd thing to do”.

Tens of thousands of people had their pre-Christmas travel plans ruined after around 1,000 Gatwick flights were cancelled or diverted across three days last week following reports of drones being spotted inside the airport perimeter.

Ms Dick insisted dealing with drones is a “challenging thing” and there “clearly were many sightings of drones on a number of different occasions” at Gatwick.

Drones close Gatwick airport
Passengers waiting for their flights following the delays and cancellations (Isabel Infantes/PA)

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The drone technology is always changing – we have to keep up with that.

“There are a whole variety of tactics and technologies that we are now using, can use and in the future they will have to change again I’m sure but it is quite difficult.

“I think the whole country and certainly the Government will have watched what’s gone on and say we need to up our game here, we need to work even more closely with the private companies, we need to work even more closely with the military, we need to try to be able to prevent the criminal use of drones for whatever motivation near our airports – and if somebody does do that we need to find them as quickly as possible, get the drone under control and also bring the people to justice.”

Ms Dick added: “It’s a very serious crime and anybody who does this can expect to be charged with serious offences and undoubtedly I think to face a prison sentence.

“I’ve been talking to colleagues around the world and I can tell you this is not an easy problem.

“We are doing our very best here and going into the future I’m sure, working closely with others, we will get better and better.

“But you won’t find a police service in the world, I think, who is sitting complacently thinking we could always deal with a drone.

“You won’t find it. It’s a difficult challenge.”

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