Chopper helping to catch crooks

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DERBYSHIRE’S police helicopter has helped to find 100 crime suspects in the county’s D Division, including Erewash, this year.

Amongst its successes it helped officers track down three men who had broken into the former American Adventure theme park this year.

Across the county, the helicopter played its part finding 214 crime suspects during 2011.

Between January 1 and December 1 crews also searched for 126 missing people, found 26 stolen or suspect vehicles and airlifted three casualties to hospital.

The chopper, which is jointly owned by Derbyshire Constabulary and Nottinghamshire Police, spent 283 hours in the sky above Derbyshire assisting officers on the ground.

John Jameson, North Midlands Helicopter Support Unit executive officer, said: “The helicopter brings a dimension to policing which can’t be achieved by conventional means.

“Thanks to the crews, many suspects were caught who may have evaded capture if the helicopter had not attended an incident.

“In April, we will see the creation of a national police air service. The police helicopter will continue to operate from Ripley and a relief helicopter will be available when the regular aircraft is off-line.

“With economies of scale that such a service will bring and with the nearest helicopter attending any incident, Derbyshire should see an even more effective service at a reduced cost.”

The helicopter was scrambled over Ilkeston to track suspected metal thieves and assist in the arrest of a man who made off from police after not paying a taxi fare.

On May 14, police received a report that people had broken into the former American Adventure theme park in Pit Lane.

The helicopter found the suspects inside and guided officers on the ground to them.

Three men, aged 19, 20 and 32, were arrested and later dealt with by way of restorative justice.

The aircraft was in action for 113 hours in D Division, which covers Erewash, Derby and South Derbyshire.

It attended 385 tasks, was directly involved in the arrests of 40 people and assisted with the arrests of 27 others.

The helicopter was used to air lift two casualties and crews also helped officers look for 46 missing people and located four vulnerable people.

Ten stolen vehicles were also located as a result of the aircraft, which is based at police HQ in Ripley, being scrambled.