Drones could protect vulnerable women walking home from stalkers and sex attackers

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Under the proposals, if a woman felt threatened while she was outside she could use an app that would dispatch a £35,000 Aeroguard drone to her location within four minutes. The unmanned aerial vehicle is equipped with a powerful spotlight and thermal cameras to frighten off any potential assailants.

It would also film suspects to help any future prosecution.

A team of former police officers and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) experts have put a plan together for the scheme and hope to run a trial at a Nottingham University campus shortly.

Richard Gill, founder of firm Drone Defence which has developed the technology, told the Telegraph that the trial would demonstrate whether drones could offer a cheaper, less noisy and more environmentally friendly service to protect the public than police helicopters.

The former army intelligence officer added: “We aim to get a prototype off the ground in Nottingham for £500,000.”

The drone will also be equipped with artificial intelligence which will automatically track the phone signal from 200ft in the air.

It will be monitored from a control room by a qualified pilot who will be ready to take over if needed.

Drone Defence will submit its proposals to the Government’s Innovate research programme, which is designed to promote cutting-edge technology.

Mr Gill and his colleagues came up with the idea following the outcry over violence against women which followed the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by then-serving police officer Wayne Couzens.

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Couzens, 48, was given a whole-life term in September after admitting to abducting, raping and murdering Miss Everard.

It sparked an outcry about the amount of violence that it perpetuated towards women and led to calls for people to call out everyday sexism.

Following his jailing, the 33-year-old’s family said: “Nothing can make things better, nothing can bring Sarah back, but knowing he will be imprisoned forever brings some relief.

“Sarah lost her life needlessly and cruelly and all the years of life she had yet to enjoy were stolen from her.

“Wayne Couzens held a position of trust as a police officer and we are outraged and sickened that he abused this trust in order to lure Sarah to her death.

“The world is a safer place with him imprisoned.”

Met Chief Cressida Dick also said that Couzens had “brought shame” on the force.

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