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Chopper is value for money

PUBLISHED: 11:43 22 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK police say the county's £2.2 million helicopter is value for money and here to stay.

On the first anniversary of it taking to the skies, and despite criticisms of running costs and complaints of noise disturbance, police chiefs say the chopper is proving a worthwhile and vital crime-fighting weapon.

SUFFOLK police say the county's £2.2 million helicopter is value for money and here to stay.

On the first anniversary of it taking to the skies, and despite criticisms of running costs and complaints of noise disturbance, police chiefs say the chopper is proving a worthwhile and vital crime-fighting weapon.

During its first 12 months in operation, it has completed 1,259 tasks – around 105 per month – and been responsible for 124 arrests.

It has recovered £128,060 worth of property – £83,500 of that was vehicle crime-related – and it has clocked up 800 flying hours.

Supt Carl Puiy, in charge of operations and responsible for air operations, defended the £500,000-a-year cost of running the aircraft, saying the money could not be better spent on having more bobbies on the beat.

He said: "What you get with this aircraft is more than what you would with more officers on the ground, and that's taking nothing away from ground officers.

"This is an extra piece of crime fighting equipment like the dog van and the traffic cars. My wish is that it is seen as an extra piece of kit. That is seen by the arrests and these are quality arrests for serious crime.

"Yes when a helicopter is hovering its noisy but our job is to ensure that we are using it appropriately and that we do everything possible to minimise the disturbance."

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