Wider use of Eagle helicopters key to tackling fleeing drivers

NZ First Party

Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Law and Order

The Police Eagle helicopter is effective in helping apprehend fleeing drivers and additional Police air assets should be more widely used around the country, says New Zealand First Law and Order spokesperson Darroch Ball.

The recently released joint Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report shows fleeing drivers have reached record numbers and the increase doesn’t look to be slowing down.

The report found that the Police districts of Wellington, Central, and Christchurch combined had more than half of all of the fleeing driver incidents but no air assets to offer back-up to pursuing officers on the ground.

In the Auckland region, the Police Eagle helicopter attends more than 65 percent of all dispatched fleeing driver incidents and has contributed to an apprehension rate of 99.7 percent when it is involved.

The report found that, given the potential effect that Police can have on an offender’s behaviour, the Eagle helicopter allows for frontline officers to stop actively pursuing fleeing vehicles. Consequently, pursuit controllers should consider instructing frontline units to drop back once the helicopter becomes involved to help moderate an offender’s driving manner.

“It is an absolute no-brainer if we are wanting to minimise police pursuits and maximise apprehensions to extend our aerial helicopter assets to the main centres which see the greatest number of fleeing driver incidents,” Mr Ball says.

“It is a common sense measure which should be implemented to help combat the ongoing increase in fleeing driver incidents.”

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