Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's a flying policeman!
Police could don jet suits to fly through the air and catch criminals in the years to come if new technology is considered.
Senior police and government officials got to see a human jet suit in action at a demonstration of emerging science and technology that could help fight crime and terrorism.
In a fictitious scenario at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) based at Porton Down, near Salisbury, the pilot swooped on a would-be assailant on the run by flying rapidly through the air.
While it is not thought there are any immediate plans to buy and use the kit, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt – who was among those in attendance alongside Home Office officials – said the event presented some “important and exciting opportunities” to “identify where that could be used in the policing world”.
Mr Hewitt described the system as “incredibly noisy” and quite “science-fictiony” but “really impressive” and as having “lots of potential”.
He added: “This is all about utility for police officers to be able to do their job better, do it quicker, keep people safer, keep themselves safe.
“We are fascinated to see how it will develop and if there are any possible uses in a policing environment in years to come.”
The thousand horsepower jet system, called Gravity, was founded by Richard Browning, who is also its test pilot.
He said: “With the flight capability, we can actually go and outrun … and … contain that threat.”
The jet suit could be particularly useful for catching a “roving threat”, such as over rooftops, in crowded urban spaces or on tricky terrains, according to Mr Browning.