Chopper brings 99 arrests
A HARE hunter and the Brandon rapist are among the villains snared by Suffolk police's eye in the sky, it can be revealed today.
AN alleged hare hunter and the Brandon rapist are among those snared by Suffolk police's eye in the sky, it can be revealed today.
Crime bosses say they made 99 arrests between January 1 and June 30 this year that would not have been possible without the force helicopter.
The chopper also found 15 missing people, seven vehicles and was pivotal in the recovery of property and drugs to the value of �364,200, according to Suffolk Police Authority papers published this week.
Other figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show the helicopter was deployed on 48 flights between the hours of 11pm and 7am in June and July this year.
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Some residents have criticised the use of a helicopter at night, questioning whether it is always necessary to deploy during anti-social hours.
However, a spokeswoman for Suffolk police said night flights were an important part of policing.
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She added: “We realise the noise may disturb residents at times and we would ask for their understanding and patience on these occasions.
“When deploying at night the crew always assesses whether it is necessary and proportionate to the nature of the incident.
“They also have to consider what the likely impact would be if they did not attend the incident.”
The helicopter played a crucial role in the wake of the horrific rape and abduction of a 21-year-old woman in Brandon in June last year.
Despite the terrifying ordeal, the victim was able to give a detailed account of her journey after being bundled at knifepoint into the boot of Robert English's car.
She was also able to describe English's mobile home, where she was sexually assaulted, and a red crate being used as a makeshift step outside.
Using this information, the helicopter was able to pinpoint the crime scene in a fraction of the time it would have taken officers on the ground.
Suspects caught this year included someone taking part in the pursuit of hares with dogs, known as hare coursing, a person brandishing a weapon and a crook burgling a large factory building.
Is the helicopter a worthwhile tool in the fight against crime? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to email@example.com