Thursday, July 25, 2024

New eyes in sky for Queensland Police

Three new state-of-the-art Bell 429 helicopters are about to join the POLAIR fleet patrolling southeast Queensland.

Two of the new helicopters have already landed in the state, with the third aircraft currently undergoing final testing before its delivery to the Queensland Police ranks.

Increasing the SEQ POLAIR fleet to three helicopters is a significant boost for police aerial capabilities, including increased patrol opportunities across south-east Queensland, said Premier, Steven Miles.

“All Queenslanders expect to feel safe at home, at the shops and in their community. That’s why my government is boosting our POLAIR fleet here in Brisbane and around the state,” said Mr Miles.

“It’s all part of our Community Safety Plan for Queensland, backed by $1.3 billion in real funding.

“My plan will deliver more police, more resources and better police infrastructure because that’s what Police saw will make a difference,” he said.

Police Minister, Mark Ryan said the new aircraft will deliver vastly improved safety, technology, camera and night vision capabilities, ensuring the officers are equipped with all the latest, state-of-the art instruments to assist their crime fighting capabilities and responses to critical incidents.

This will assist police in tracking vehicles, arresting offenders and locating missing persons to enhance community safety.

“Increasing the SEQ POLAIR fleet by 50% will significantly increase the operational capacity for police, which ultimately means a safer community,” said Mr Ryan.

“The government’s investment in these helicopters is about stopping criminals in their tracks, and ensuring they are brought before the courts.

“I acknowledge the foresight of QPU President Ian Leavers in advocating for the establishment of this capability over a decade ago. This capability has changed policing for the better and it’s an essential resource for a contemporary police service.”

The timing of the delivery of the new aerial assets for south-east Queensland is based on the age and accumulation of operational hours for the existing aircraft.

The new police aerial assets are just the beginning of the QPS aerial capability expansion across the state, with the State Government already announcing and funding police aerial capability for Townsville, Cairns/Far North and the Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay regions.

“POLAIR capability can significantly enhance police operations and support ground-based personnel,” said Queensland Commissioner of Police, Steve Gollschewski.

“Having the ability to deploy an aerial asset is game changing for a lot of the jobs the QPS attend. 

“The more assistance we can provide our frontline crews, the higher our chances are of resolving critical incidents and keeping the community safe.

“The three new helicopters are a fantastic addition to the POLAIR fleet.”

The initial interim police aerial capability for Townsville is already operational and a tender process is now underway to make this capability permanent.

Tender processes are also underway for the initial interim police aerial capability in each of the Cairns/Far North and Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay regions.  

“As a co-founder of POLAIR I’m very pleased to see the further delivery of new helicopters to expand POLAIR,” said QPU President, Ian Leavers.

“From POLAIR’s inception and establishment over a decade ago, I never thought from our humble beginnings we would grow to what we see today and how the service will continue to grow throughout Queensland over the next six months.

“It is gratifying everyone in the community has now been able to share in our vision and see for themselves what a valuable addition this aerial platform has been to police operations, as I always knew it would be.”

Three new SEQ POLAIR helicopters will officially become operational from 3 July.

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