10 July, 2019

'Not prepared for two drones' say the police at London Gatwick Airport

The police at London Gatwick Airport were not prepared for an attack by more than one drone, a senior officer said last week.  Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw of Sussex Police said its "drone plan" had been based "around a single drone incursion and not a multiple one", he also advised that airports had been left "playing catch up".

However, he stressed that the defences at London Gatwick are "now fit for purpose" confirming, "We have now got the mitigation technology in place, I wish we had that in December," 

Back in December multiple drone sightings halted flights at the Sussex airport for around 30 days and causing travel misery for more than 140,000 passengers. 

The police officer had been speaking at the Interpol World conference in Singapore on 3rd July to Philip Ingram, a former British Army intelligence officer. The conversation,  which was meant just for those attending the conference was leaked online, which has caused some red faces at Sussex Police.

The gaffe-prone Burtenshaw said that "jamming technology" - which is supposed to bring down a drone - was "just not tested. - All this stuff is built for the theatre of war. We are introducing something that is great in a desert into an urban environment and saying we are not quite sure what it's going to do," he said.

"I still don't know what effect a jamming technology is going to have on a hospital that is four kilometres away, so we have to be really careful."

The new technology installed at London Gatwick at the cost of around £5 million earlier this year may not be worth the money, as Burtenshaw confirmed it would only be used if flights were already halted and on the ground, "no aircraft in the sky" he said. Adding, "not something we would use very quickly." So, it would seem that more drone chaos at Gatwick is a distinct probability and Sussex Police still don't have a clue how to prevent it. 

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