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Drones patrol Spanish resorts amid jihadist attack fears
Stock image of a drone. Photo: Don McCullough/Flickr

Drones patrol Spanish resorts amid jihadist attack fears

Fiona Govan · 4 Aug 2016, 10:05

Published: 04 Aug 2016 10:05 GMT+02:00

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Benidorm has been pioneering the use of drones since July 1st with four specially trained police officers trained to use unmanned light aircraft that patrol the skies to detect risks.

Antonio Perez, the mayor of Benidorm said: “The use of drones has been incorporated in policing in Benidorm to aid surveillance and emergency situations”.

The drones are capable of remaining in the sky for 28 minutes, can fly up to 70 km/ h at heights of up to 500 meters.

The measure is part of a nationwide boosting of security at busy tourists spots in the wake of last month’s attack in Nice, when a jihadist drove a truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing 84 people.

Although Spain’s government chose not to raise the terror threat from 4 out of a possible 5, police presence has notably grown in resorts, with armed units patrolling tourist sites and seafronts.

A policeman outside Seville's Alcazar. Photo: AFP

Not only can the drones help detect suspicious activities which might alert police to a potential terror attack but they are also being used to detect smoke columns that could be an early sign of a forest fire and to spot swimmers or vessels in trouble off the beaches.

Special lifeguard drones first started to patrol beaches in Spain last summer.

Story continues below…

The unmanned aircraft are equipped with rubber floats to drop into the water and can reach drowning swimmers three times faster than their human equivalents.

Police drones have now been rolled out to include beach resorts in Asturias, Andalusia. Murcia, Cantabria and Valencia.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fiona Govan (fiona.govan@thelocal.com)

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