Drone Complaints - 682/20

Date Responded 15 May 2020

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

In the calendar years 2016 to 2019 …..

  1. How many complaints were made to police about drones? (I specify ‘complaints’ as opposed to ‘reports’ as I myself have contacted police to report an uncontrolled flyaway on two occasions as required by the CAA).
  2. During the same periods, from all the complaints made, how many were ‘investigated’?
  3. For those investigated, what was the outcome?

In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

To provide data,  searches for the phrase " drone" in the first three lines of all incidents within the 2016-2019 period. (only the first 3 lines of incidents are searchable)

This was then cross checked with other systems and those that did not appear to match the criteria as set out above, ie theft of drones, were removed.

As such spelling errors, or alternative definitions of such vehicles, would not be included.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete it is important to note that such data is extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

With all the above noted I respond as follows.

  1. 300
  2. All complaints are investigated.


Five of these cases eventually resulted in a crime.                                                                                                                        

1x Causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress

2x Criminal damage to a motor vehicle                                                              

1x Harassment, alarm or distress                                                                                                         

1x Damage other                                                                                                


The outcomes of these were as follows:                                                                                                                                                                                         

2x Investigation Complete - No suspect identified

2x Evidential Difficulties                                                                                                                       

1x Victim declines or is unable to identify suspect


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