Norfolk Police will be trialling the use of drones as first responders next year.

If the trials, named Project Eagle X, are successful, drones would be stationed on buildings and operated remotely to be sent first to scenes to give police early information.

The hope is the drone would give more accurate information on the potential scale of an incident than a member of the public who has called 999 and get there more quickly than a helicopter.

Norfolk has been selected for the trials due to its limited access to the National Police Air Service.

Thames Valley and Hampshire forces will also test the tech.

READ MORE: Saxonair launches world's first certified electric plane

Similar trials have taken place in San Diego and will also be rolled out in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Neil Sexton, who advises the National Police Chiefs' Council on the use of drones, said: "DFR is a drone that sits autonomously on a roof somewhere in a city and it's in a box, it's protected.

"From a control station that receives a 999 call it can be launched completely remotely, flying overhead an incident to gain situational awareness that will be fed back not just to that control station or control room, but also to the first responders who are about to arrive on the ground."

He added: "The ability to get a remote aircraft overhead of an incident that is still developing to gain a better situational awareness [is] much improved over phone calls from members of the public who are under stress.

"Sitting overhead, it can tell you straight away whether you're talking about a major road traffic collision that requires three fire engines and four ambulances, or whether it's a minor prang and someone's getting over-excited."

Police forces in England and Wales currently use about 400 drones - but they cannot be flown out of the operator’s line of sight.

The trials will take place in areas with closed-off airspace next year.