Police helicopter hailed after busy year

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NEw figures reveal that the police helicopter in South Yorkshire last year led to the recovery of 143 stolen cars and £2.32m worth of property and drugs.

South Yorkshire Police has now released the results for 2011 of its air operations unit, which carries out its work using the force’s SY99 helicopter.

The figures show that, over the last 12 months, the unit completed 4,832 separate tasks, made 319 arrests and assisted with capturing a further 399 suspects. The team also helped to find 42 missing people.

Sergeant Helen Scothern, head of South Yorkshire Police’s air operations unit, said: “Many people associate the sight and sound of the helicopter with car chases and criminals on the run, thanks mainly to police shows on TV.

“However, SY99, the pilots, observers and engineers play a vital role in reducing anti-social behaviour, gathering intelligence and locating vulnerable missing people, as well as apprehending suspects on the run.

“The helicopter strengthens the force’s ability to reduce crime, protect vulnerable people and reduce vehicle collisions and the value of this cannot be underestimated.”