Queensland to use 'eyes in the sky' to fight crime


Monday, 21 February, 2022

Queensland to use 'eyes in the sky' to fight crime

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced new ‘eyes in the sky’ to help police fight crime.

Three new state-of-the-art Bell 429 helicopters will become part of the POLAIR fleet to patrol the south-east, replacing the existing two helicopters that have reliably served the Queensland community for almost a decade.

In addition, the Palaszczuk government will invest nearly a million dollars to deliver the highest-standard specialised remotely piloted aircraft for use in Townsville and Cairns.

The Premier said the new helicopters and drones represented a significant capability increase for police and an added protection for the community.

“The community will be able to feel safer knowing police have these new, state-of-the art resources,” the Premier said.

“It also adds a valuable additional level of security for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Three helicopters offers increased operational capacity for police, up from the existing two. In addition, the new aircraft will deliver vastly improved safety, technology, camera and night vision capability.

The new arrangement will also deliver Australia’s first Bell 429 training simulator, which initially will be for the exclusive use of QPS POLAIR pilots.

Supplementing training requirements with time in the simulator means reduced time training in the aircraft, saving operating costs and freeing up the helicopters to fly more missions.

Townsville and Cairns police will take delivery of new remotely piloted aircraft (RPAS) as part of a trial exploring the operational enhancements that this state-of-the-art technology can deliver.

The new RPAS will have enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities and include advancements like artificial intelligence technologies for tracking vehicles and sophisticated thermal imaging cameras for locating lost people.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the new helicopters were part of a new long-term contract with Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) to operate vital POLAIR aerial capabilities through to 2034.

“The new arrangement, which begins at the conclusion of the current contract with SLSQ in 2024, means long-term security for the operation of the helicopters that play a critical role in supporting the efforts of police on the ground to keep the community safe,” he said.

“It also ensures that the Queensland Police Service will have access to the most up-to-date aerial capabilities by delivering new helicopters.

“The new arrangements will deliver better aerial capability, greater efficiencies and long-term security to the operations of POLAIR.

“This is a great result for Queensland.

“Now we know that these critical operations will be maintained at the highest standards all the way through to 2034.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com.au/Cla78

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