Police airborne in crime fight

THE Police Airwing will deploy Polair to fly over northern NSW later this month, joining forces with local police to target a number of crimes in the region over summer.

Polair will be based at Newcastle from where it will patrol parts of the police 'Northern Region' including Lake Macquarie, Tuggerah Lakes, Newcastle City, Central Hunter and Hunter Valley Local Area Commands.

It will pro-actively target break and enters, stolen motor vehicles, drug activity and anti-social behaviour, assisting with both the detection and prevention of these offences.

The operation will run between Thursday January 12 and Sunday, January 15 2012, and will utilise local police and the Polair chopper.

This operation was run in Dubbo in November 2011 and is expected to head to Tamworth, after Newcastle, in February 2012.

The crew will arrive and meet with local police to become familiar with the local areas. They will then participate in patrols and react to any jobs which may arise, such as tracking an offender in a pursuit or robbery.

Northern Region Operations Manager, Inspector Anthony Townsend said, "The helicopter can cover the vast distances in the state's north more efficiently than vehicles which is a great benefit to assist local officers in targeting these offences.

"The use of Polair to complement local police is a great deterrent to anyone thinking of committing a crime," he said.

Polair will also visit the local community and provide an opportunity for photos to be taken with the chopper and for members of the public to ask questions and see how it works.

The operation will also use two 'locals' as crew, a pilot and crewman who both grew up in Northern NSW and are familiar with the area.

Inspector Townsend said, "The Pilot for this operation is Special Constable Matt Stanton who grew up on the state's central coast and started his flying career in Newcastle in 1994.

"One of his crew is Senior Constable Andrew Burnell who was born and bread in the Newcastle area and is still active in the community as a surf lifesaver.

"These familiar faces will be a great advantage during this operation and the crew is looking forward to the task," he said.

The Aviation Support Branch and Polair is used for a variety of situations including search and rescue, police patrols, searching for offenders, public order, traffic control and surveillance.


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