POLICE in Merseyside are taking the fight against crime to new heights, with the launch of the UK's first police drone.

The drone will take to Merseyside's skies in June and support the force's ongoing fight against crime and anti-social behaviour.

The investment is part of Merseyside's Total Policing approach, with a focus on using technology to tackle criminals.

The drone - which is this week being trialled by the force - uses the same type of camera facilities as the police helicopter and high-visibility CCTV vans on the roads.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Byrne told how unmanned technology provides a new, cost effective way of capturing vital evidence on camera and putting more officers on the beat.

"We're always looking at ways of putting more officers on the streets, and maximising technology is a powerful way of achieving this," he said.

Our drone will be used primarily to support our anti-social behaviour taskforce AXIS, in gathering all-important evidence to put offenders before the courts.

"Other uses may include monitoring public disorder, crowd control during large scale events, and use during traffic congestion.

"We're also looking at its potential during firearm operations. For us, this is a cost-effective way of helping to catch criminals and supports similar technology we're already using in our vans and helicopter."

The drone is one metre in span and weighs less than a kilogram.

It will be operational with the force's AXIS team some time in June, and more drones could also be introduced in the future.