Mojácar’s Local Police are running a course in the town focusing on the new European legislation for drone usage by their force and, the fire service.

At the start of the year, new rules came into force regarding the legal requirements to fly these air machines, which they are currently studying.  The first part of the course deals with this legislation and the recent changes, with the second part dealing with operational practices to improve the handling of drones by police or fire department in relation to accidents, searching and making sketches, amongst other applications.

The course is being taught by Firefighters from the Levante Almeriense Force along with Mojácar’s Local Police, who are the first to have operational drone units in the Almería province, with 12 fully accredited members. The actual qualification is a very demanding one that equates in some terms to those of aircraft pilots, due to the need for aeronautical knowledge, terminology, the use of aerial radios and communication controls.

Other towns are already taking on board this type of equipment and although not yet operational, local police officers from other areas have also been attending the course.  Mojácar’s Local Police regard drone usage as part of the future, in terms of assistance in surveillance, supporting the firefighters, making studies and carrying out searches.

These new regulations have been changing since they were introduced in 2014, although still remaining very restrictive with many bureaucratic requirements. A change in 2017 made the procedures much easier for police work, however it remained very constrictive for private use.

The new European regulation on drone operation expands the range of usage, although a Royal Decree is pending publication that will specify as part of State Security how accreditations and drone utilization will be renewed and updated.

All regulations on drone usage are based on three categories according to the type of operational risk, each requiring a different license, which are classified as ‘open’, ‘specific’ and ‘certified.’ The most usual one is an ‘open’ one, for drones of up to 900 grams, requiring a shorter course that accredits and registers the applicant. From 2023 machines have to carry devices so they can be easily detected by the police to ensure they are not infringing any regulations, which are thought to be frequently occurring at present.