Helicopter boosts arrest figures

MORE than 130 people have been arrested in Suffolk in just five months thanks to the intervention of the police helicopter.

MORE than 130 people have been arrested in Suffolk in just five months thanks to the intervention of the police helicopter.

A report into the Suffolk force's air support reveals it attended a total of 669 incidents between April 1 and August 31 this year. This led to 135 arrests which would not have been made without the use of the helicopter.

The report, which will go before Suffolk Police Authority on Friday, also showed:

Drugs worth £750,000 were recovered as a result of a response to an incident by the helicopter

Property worth £162,540 was recovered

13 missing people were located

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12 vehicles were located

112 offenders, who were dealt with other than by arrest, were located by the helicopter

Suffolk Police Authority took the decision earlier this year to back plans to purchase a new £1.4 million helicopter for 2010, despite running costs of £3,108 a day.

Gulshan Kayembe , chair of Suffolk Police Authority, said despite the high running costs, the helicopter is worth the money.

“Not just in light of these figures, but as well as reports from the past, the general view is that the helicopter can do things that would be very difficult to achieve with just people on the ground. Costly though it is, the helicopter is an important part of the resources that are available to the police to enable them to do their job, especially in a rural county.”

During the five-month period the helicopter also assisted in searches connected to major incidents. This included the investigation into a rape in Brandon, the unexploded bomb discovered in Felixstowe and the visit of Gordon Brown to Suffolk.

Details of all the incidents the helicopter attended were also listed. This included it being used to search for a van involved in an alleged kidnapping/abduction of a man in Ipswich. A search was carried out of the town area and then onto the A14.

Following assistance from the helicopter an industrial unit was searched and the vehicle, victim and three suspected assailants were located outside a small unit on an industrial estate.

Is the police helicopter value for money? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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