Swedish police have around 350 drones in service, creating Europe’s largest drone program

Sweden has managed to create one of the largest drone programs in Europe and the world, with an estimated 350 drones currently serving today. The police force has equipped every vehicle (cars, boats, and bikes) in the drone program with a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise drone.

How it came to be

In 2015, the Swedish Police Authority was created as a governing body for the Swedish Police. This meant local governments no longer controlled the police, essentially unifying the force into one large group while exploring the use of drones.

In 2017, a pilot study was completed that looked into using drones for public safety operations and researching the best practices, policies, and procedures to see if the drones could even be used and meet Swedish law requirements. One year later, the drone program was officially kicked off with a former helicopter pilot becoming the Process Manager Airborne Policing-UAS at the Swedish Police Authority.

From here, each branch within the police force got the opportunity to submit an application and get the training required to start using drones on the job. Over the years, the number of trained officers has slowly increased, with more than 200 officers trained across Sweden today, which equals about 1% of the force.

Due to this huge up-take in training, each police unit that has taken part in the drone training has been able to get a drone to use for everyday operations. Extras are also provided to the forensic teams to use in investigations.

Rickard Henningsson, the Process Manager Airborne Policing-UAS at the Swedish Police Authority shared:

You have to understand, it wasn’t angle single event that triggered us to start using drones. There were several eye-opening moments that made it evident how drones could prove invaluable in providing officers with an extra vantage point during police operations.

The Swedish Police have used the drones for the following reasons:

  • Reduce operation costs
  • Reduce the need for the police helicopters
  • Monitor crowds at large events to ensure the safety of the public
  • Reduce drug trafficking and gang-related crimes

Image: DJI

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