Challenged by British Nuclear Constabulary

Bit of a long story I know:
I was across in Barrow-in-Furness & as usual, had my Mini2 in the car. Seeing an opportunity to grab some nicely sun lit shots of a ship in the docks I checked on dronscene & drone assist app, the area I was wanting to fly - all good.

Reported an intended flight as I always do when around built up areas to the local police on 101. Got my report number after a pleasant chat stating details & locations, awareness of the FRZ, Restricted area around BAE Systems. & higher risk areas - again all good :+1::+1:

Sent up the Mini2 & @2 mins in I was passed by a police 4x4. Carried on shooting video & stills to have said 4x4 return & stop @ 10 mins later. (Mini2 still in the air about 70m away & 40m up)
Out jumps mr plod x2 “Can we speak to you about your drone?” “Sure” I replied “but can you not distract me & let me land please.” To which the younger of the two officers carried on talking stood right next to me. I asked him to step back & away whilst I landed also telling them if I shout “drone fail” they needed to take avoiding action & cover their heads. OMG! Officer 1’s reaction!! “You telling me you can’t control your drone!” comes in a loud voice in my ear. Seriously, what an idiot he is.
After bringing it back & hand catching trying to step as far away from numbty officer as I could get (@ 2m me between the drone & him due to him following me around). He then started to quote “You need to be a safe distance from people (really), vehicles & buildings” replying that I’m fully aware of the rules, showing him ID, my GVC & insurance details. I went on to state his colleagues should be aware of my flight as I’d logged it with Cumbria Police. “That’s not us, is it, we’re BNC! Haven’t you had equipment confiscated by us? You can’t fly in Barrow” he then went on to start referencing in an aggressive manor the ANO incorrectly. (Well, the old pre jan21 rules). Stopping him, telling him, “no I’ve had no issues with the police or anyone confiscating equipment. My drone falls under the sub 250g class” & asking him the date of the rules he’s referring to, “There’s no such rule regarding weight!” he pulled out his phone & looked. “2015!” :see_no_evil: I mentioned they were updated on 1/1/21 - back to his phone he went.:rofl:

His colleague now chirped up saying that I know my stuff & asked me to show him the drone. I also showed the Drone Assist app & the area we were in. That it was outside any restrictions. Showed him CAP722 doc on my phone & the relevant pages re legacy subcategory / class’s.
This officer was very respectful, taking in what I was showing him whilst numbty boy was still searching his phone. Chatting about the rule changes & sizes. The upcoming change in jan23 & risks etc we were making inroads into educating those who enforce :rofl: I said they need to speak to their drone units for crib sheets but the BNC don’t have one :man_shrugging:t2: Numbty officer then chips up “Hmm looks like what we’ve got is out of date” to his colleague. “Yeh I saw it on Marks phone. Quite informative”
I asked officer 2 if he wanted to fly it (under my supervision of course) he declined but asked if I could launch it up & he could watch & see on screen. Duly obliged with a quick 2 min up/spin/ down - he now wants one :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
Numbty just huffed.

Moral: Non-confrontational will win the day so long as your able to back up what you’re saying :+1:


I’d have probably challenged him on the “British Nuclear Constabulary” name and said he just made that up :rofl:

But in all seriousness, good job Mark. The more people we can educate, the better all round :+1:t2:


You should have offered to run regular courses for BNC (thought that was a co-ax connector :laughing:) to keep their crew up to date.

£100/hour? Would be worth it to them to avoid embarrassing themselves. :+1:


Agreed, as far as I know the BNC are one of the few routinently armed units…

Definitely not ones to upset!

Fascinating (but not surprising) say they’re not up to date on the regs.

Well played :+1:


Hiya @MTLakes, I enjoyed your story, my hubby is calm like you. I get tongue tied! I’m new around here, I was wondering if you would explain (like I’m 5) a sentence for me please?

Are we supposed to phone 101 as well as an intended fligtht on the app thingy? Do they tell you straight away? Would you use it for training/ learning flights? Sorry for asking, I havn’t seen this anywhere else, so my brain has just started backfiring!


Well done @MTLakes, although I guess it’s hardly news after the last two years that our police forces are full of ill-informed idiots with no idea about the laws they are called upon to enforce (alongside the reasonable and sensible ones).

Well done for being calm and getting the right result!

For the vast majority of flights you have no need to inform anyone. If, like Mark, you are close to a sensitive area (but not overflying it) it makes sense to let authorities know. Then if a concerned citizen phones to say that a terrorist is flying a drone into a military installation the authorities (Police on 101) can say that they are aware and happy that nothing untoward is going on.

Most normal flying won’t need any precautions but there are occasions when it is sensible to take pre-emptive action.

For instance there are certain things I want to photograph almost within the Goodwood airfield flight restriction zone. They are outside the area by 200 metres or so. I will let Goodwood ATC know what I intend to do and when. Then any sighting by pilots or ground observers can be explained by ATC when they are contacted.

It is a good idea to have documentation to hand, whether printed out or on your phone - flyer and operator id, insurance (if any), qualifications and copies of the latest legislation.

Add Drone Scene to your phone home screen so that you can show FRZ and other restrictions and where you are in relation to them.

Be calm, polite and firm. Look as though you have a right to be there and look confident. Wearing a hi-viz vest always helps with looking “official”

But don’t get hung up on the need for full precautions - in 99 cases out of a hundred you should be able to just relax and enjoy your flight.


fwiw I always have the following documentation with me, usually several print outs just in case. Others won’t necessary agree with giving out name and flyer/operator IDs, it’s up to you.

A copy of my insurance +
sub+250g+flight.pdf (385.4 KB) (source: Geeksvana)
Article+16+Authorisation+Flight.pdf (385.8 KB) (source:Geeksvana)
Drone Information - DJI Mini 2 - UK - Blank.docx (27.9 KB)

The only time I’ve ever had to provide the information was when ITV wanted to use my footage on their local TV news bulletin and wanted to make sure I wasn’t just some charlie throwing a drone up in the sky with no responsibly near a fire.

For the most part drone confrontation is something that will rarely happen, but if it is does it’s best to be prepared for it.

As well as letting Police know in a questionable area, I’ll also do a risk assessment and flight plan basically to cover my arse if anything happens. These templates are pretty bad as they are our work ones and I haven’t been arsed to update the formatting. Most of this is overkill for personal/recreational and I rarely do any of it unless common sense dictates I should.

_Risk Assessment Template.doc (57 KB)

_Flight Plan Template.docx (12.2 KB)


I went google hunting as soon as I read that and all my meagre search skills came up with ‘report a drone user’ lol!

Thank you so very much Rob for explaining it to me. I now understand! I have drone scene and altitude angel (and my bank app where my insurance is) on my phone. I had put my flyer and operator ID in my bag but after having a look at the info Ade has posted I’ll be adding to my paper pile. I’m ex-mod so I like to have my rear end covered so to speak! And that’s what it boils down too isn’t it. Being prepared and knowing the rules for your (fly) area.

Thanks so much Ade for posting the paper trail. It makes me warm and happy to be prepared. My husband is super calm thankfully.

Thank you for taking the time to explain to me.

1 Like

Hmmmm a hi viz vest…maybe we could have GADC hi viz vests with article 16 printed on the back? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

As if that wouldn’t attract ALL the wrong sort of interest to this site.

Does anyone have a link for the drone scene app? The iPhone app store was charging for it!


Is a free Web based app developed by @PingSpike the founder of this club. It wouldn’t be on the app store.

To get to it click the burger icon (3 lines) and click drone scene then log in with your forum credentials :+1:t2:

Link for ease:


From your phone browser you should be able to add a Drone Scene shortcut to your home screen.


@macspite beat me to it, it is then there to refer to when out and about.


Thanks all, I thought I’d got it but there was blurb about a two-way confirmation. I wasn’t sure what this entails and assumed I’d find an email with a link in it, but didn’t?

@BeltandBraces If you’re having trouble accessing Drone Scene please start a new thread in the #drone-scene category and we’ll try to keep this thread on the subject of interactions with the British Nuclear Constabulary.

1 Like

Done that, using my laptop as it seems the only way around this two-way authentication lark! It doesn’t work for me presently.

Thanks for these

Indeed they are but let’s face it, a middle aged fat fella looking up at the skies - they’d need a stronger reason to draw a sidearm out. Too much paperwork :rofl::rofl:

1 Like