Police chief sees ‘lots of potential’ in jet-suit technology

Senior officers and government officials attend demonstration of flying humans

Credit: Eddie Codel/CC BY 2.0

The chair of the National Police Chiefs Council sees “lots of potential” in the possible law-enforcement applications of jet suits that could allow officers to fly.

The technology was demonstrated at an event hosted by government innovation agency the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Attendees, including NPCC leaders and Home Office officials, witnessed the spectacle of a jet-suited ‘officer’ pursuing – and easily outpacing – a fleeing ‘suspect’.

Chair of the NPCC Martin Hewitt found the technology from Salisbury-based firm Gravity “really impressive” – albeit “incredibly noisy”.

“It is clear the Gravity system has lots of potential and we are fascinated to see how it will develop and if there are any possible uses in a policing environment in years to come,” he said. “This is all about utility for police officers to be able to do their job better, do it quicker, keep people safer, [and] keep themselves safe.”

The Gravity technology (the demonstration of which is featured in the video below) uses jets mounted on large cuffs worn on users’ hands. As well as demonstrating its potential for use in law-enforcement scenarios, the company offers flight experience packages – and even custom-made suits – and is also planning to launch a race series, its website indicates.

Founder and lead test pilot Richard Browning (pictured above using his company’s technology), who officials and officers saw flying in the demonstration, said: “The application of Gravity is endless, to be able to move specialist personnel in an urban environment very quickly in a three dimensional space, be it onto a rooftop, over a river or difficult terrain to potentially contain a roving threat is really powerful.”

Other technologies showcased during the event included new systems for detecting knives that “could mean fewer body searches and better protection for police officers and the public”, according to Dstl.

Mike Smith, head of counter-terrorism and security at the Ministry of Defence agency, said: “Dstl is all about the future, and it is important we explore what others are doing to develop novel systems. It is with great pride that we were able to show some of the incredible science being developed to protect UK citizens to senior policing officials.”

 

Sam Trendall

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