The Government of the UK will give additional powers to police to deal with the misuse of drones after illegal flights paralysed operations at Gatwick Airport last December.

The proposed measures come after Gatwick Airport noticed illegal drone flights near its airstrip. It resulted in the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights, affecting 140,000 passengers.

A consultation launched by the government received more than 5,000 responses supporting the proposed legislation.

It will enable the police to force drones to land, search premises and seize drones, as well as requiring users to produce proper documentation.

The government will also work on the expanded use of technology to detect and drive back drones in sites such as airports and prisons.

“These measures help ensure the potential of this technology is harnessed in a responsible and safe way.”

It will expand drone exclusion zones around airports from the existing 1km limit to about 5km.

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Operators are now required to register their drones following legislation introduced last November.

UK Aviation Minister Liz Sugg said: “Drones have the potential to bring significant benefits and opportunities, but with the speed of technological advancement comes risk, and safety and security must be our top priorities.

“That’s why we are giving the police powers to deal with those using drones irresponsibly. Along with additional safety measures these will help ensure the potential of this technology is harnessed in a responsible and safe way.”

Police will be able to issue fixed-penalty notices for minor drone offences for immediate and effective enforcement of vital rules.

London Heathrow and Gatwick airports announced that they will acquire military-grade anti-drone equipment to deal with illegal drone flights near airfields.