Victoria Police will have even more eyes in the sky to help keep the community safe and solve crime, with the launch of a dedicated drone unit, backed by the Andrews Labor Government.

Acting Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville today joined Victoria Police to unveil the new technology at Essendon Airport in what marks a new era of policing for Victoria.

Police will use the unmanned aerial drones to support a wide range of police operations, map crime scenes and provide search and rescue support.

The drones can be used during the day and at night for a range of operations, including forensically documenting crime scenes to capture footage from all angles with millimetre precision.

They can also be used in emergency management situations as a communication tool, or provide first aid, food and water to people in hard-to-reach areas, such as rooftops, cliff faces or mineshafts.

Over the next year, police expect to have at least 50 drones available and up to 70 specialist operators trained across the state.

The new unit will have the ability to deploy highly-specialised, metropolitan-based drones, while also managing all Civil Aviation Safety Authority compliance requirements.

The technology will also provide police in regional Victoria with greater flexibility, helping them look for and assess stolen property, drugs and missing people.

As part of the Labor Government’s record investment in Victoria Police, including an extra 3,135 police officers, the Drone Unit will be supported by five additional positions in the Air Wing.

These positions will be fast-tracked from the 2020-21 allocation of new police to allow this new capability to commence immediately.

The new unit also builds on the Labor Government’s investment in a new, modernised air wing fleet to give police the tools they need to keep the community safe, both on the ground and in the sky.