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Birds of prey are set to be deployed as a new crack surveillance team to help bring a swift end to crime

Cheshire Constabulary will become the first police force in the UK to launch a pilot project which uses peregrine falcons and owls to help keep communities safe.

Operation Hawkeye will see the birds hooked up with the latest technology before swooping down and keeping an eye on criminal activity.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “We pride ourselves on being an innovative and progressive force.

“Operation Hawkeye is our latest example of using technology and the assets of our rural volunteers by flying birds of prey to help keep our communities safe.

“Working within guidelines about surveillance we aim to unleash the ‘eagle eyes’ to build upon our work to keep communities safe.”

The Constabulary is working closely with experts from Cheshire Falconry at Sandiway to ensure the eagle-eyed predators are treated ethically throughout the pilot project.

Force surveillance lead, Detective Superintendent Geraint Jones, added: “We chose peregrine falcons for their agility and speed, and naturally owls are the best choice to be used for nocturnal flights.

“These birds are being viewed as fully trained members of the force and will be treated in the same way as police dogs and horses.

“Each bird is fully assessed and we will work in close consultation with experts from the falconry to ensure their wellbeing is always our number one priority.”

The birds will be trained at Riverside Organic Farm in Northwich and owner Simon Jones added: “I think this is an excellent initiative which is why I am happy to allow the birds to be trained on our local farmland.

“It’s great to see that Cheshire Constabulary appreciate the upset and disruption that crime can have on our communities and this will be a great way to help mitigate that.”

Well done to Cheshire Constabulary for this well planned April Fools.

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