Unmanned drones, similar to those used in Afghanistan, could be used by police to free up officers for other duties, it was reported.
The Microdrone UAV, as used by Merseyside police. The manufacturers say they are selling the drones to Google.
The airborne cameras, known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may be used over cities or big events like Glastonbury, according to a National Police Air Service director.
Superintendent Richard Watson suggested they could have been deployed during the Olympic Games but have not yet proved to be cost-effective for widespread use.
Some forces have tried the remote-controlled system, which has been dubbed “spy in the sky”. A Â£13,000 drone was launched successfully but was later lost in the River Mersey.
In a presentation to the defence industry, reported by theÂ Times, Supt Watson said: “I think we missed an opportunity with the Olympics. But there is an opportunity to do things differently. Until we start to ask the questions, we will always think the same way.
â€œI see unmanned systems as part of the future. There is an aircraft over London all the time â€” every day, giving images back. Why does it need to be a very expensive helicopter?
Give me something that I can use now, cheaper, more efficiently, more effective, with less risk and Iâ€™ll buy it.
â€œIf somebody gave me an unmanned system that I could use as I use a helicopter at half the cost, within the regulations, I would buy it tomorrow.â€
He added any drones used by police should be cost-efficient to convince the public they are justified against fears of a “Big Brother” state.
He referred to one manufacturer, which had presented him with an Â£81 million system despite the entire National Police Air Service budget amounting to just over Â£60 million.
Earlier this year, it was reported that US authorities, including the FBI and police, had been given permission to use surveillance drones.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approved applications for more than 50 non-military agencies to use the aircrafts, including North Little Rock, a city of fewer than 70,000 people.
The city’s police force said the drone would be used for training but hoped it would eventually be used to gather intelligence on areas with high crime levels.
Police drones could be used to monitor public from sky