A SECOND police helicopter is taking to the skies to fight crime and keep families safe across south east Queensland.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey said the second Queensland Police Service helicopter would protect communities across the Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Brisbane regions.
“The second helicopter will deliver safer streets for residents from Caboolture to Coolangatta and west to the Lockyer Valley,” he said,
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The helicopter will be based at Archerfield airport, service a population of more than 1.8 million people and help police catch offenders, stop dangerous drivers and conduct proactive operations.
A total of $3 million has been budgeted for the new helicopter in 2014/15, part of the Queensland’s Government $18 million commitment to police helicopters over four years.
Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers said the helicopter was a much-needed resource for police officers.
“Combined with the influx of new officers to the Gold Coast, the existing police helicopter which the police union joined with government to deliver, has played an important part in the significant reduction of crime in the area,” Mr Leavers said.
“Another eye in the sky now based in Brisbane can only further assist our officers on the ground to better police the area, and keep our communities safe.”
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the first police helicopter was an important tool in preventing, detecting and solving crime.
“It has proven valuable in performing a range of policing functions such as searching for offenders and missing persons, identifying drug crops and managing traffic and major events,” Commissioner Stewart said.
“Deploying a second police helicopter within south-east Queensland will be a significant boost for policing in the area.
“It also makes the job safer, not just for our police, but for the community as well.”
Surf Lifesaving Queensland (SLSQ) chief executive officer John Brennan said the partnership between the organisation and the government built on past successes.
“For almost four decades now, SLSQ – through its Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Rescue Service (WLHRS) – has provided a crucial service to the South East Queensland community,” Mr Brennan said.
“This extended relationship with the Queensland Government continues to broaden our core service by providing for safer communities and, ultimately, saving lives across the state.
“SLSQ has successfully worked with QPS to provide helicopter services on the Gold Coast since 2012, and we remain committed to delivering a world-class aerial patrol and surveillance service to the Queensland community.”