UK
08/02/2016 05:04 GMT | Updated 08/02/2016 09:59 GMT

Eagles Could Be Used To Take Down Drones, Metropolitan Police Chief Says

The Metropolitan Police could begin to use eagles to intercept drones following the success of similar tactics used by Dutch forces.

Met Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, was impressed by the scheme used in Holland, according to The Times.

While the pilot-less aircraft - which are controlled remotely - are already being used by police officers to capture footage on difficult terrain, there are concerns they are also being used by criminal gangs.

eagle drone

Image released by Dutch Police shows a trained eagle catching a flying drone

The birds would help by taking down the aircraft, which they would consider to be prey.

Police in Holland have partnered with security firm Guard From Above (GFA), which trains birds of prey to identify drones and snatch them out of the sky.

In a press release from Guard From Above, the company's founder and CEO, Sjoerd Hoogendoorn, said: "For years, the government has been looking for ways to counter the undesirable use of drones. Sometimes a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem is more obvious than it seems.

"This is the case with our specially trained birds of prey. By using these birds’ animal instincts, we can offer an effective solution to a new threat."

A Met Police spokesman said: "As would be expected in an organisation that is transforming we take an interest in all innovative new ideas and will of course be looking at the work of the Dutch police use of eagles."

Many have welcomed the concept:

However, the scheme in Holland has sparked controversy, with animal welfare campaigners stressing the possible dangers posed to the eagles when taking out the drones.

Writing in the National Geographic, Nicholas Lund, said: "The biggest problem is the very obvious danger to the eagles.

"As demonstrated by the Mythbusters crew, who are among the preeminent scientific experimenters of our time, drone blades, especially carbon fiber ones, can cause serious damage to an animal.

"If an eagle were to misjudge its attack, or if the drone operator were to take evasive or defense maneuvers, a bird could be struck by the blades and seriously injured or killed."

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