Belfast Telegraph

Police unveil hi-tech helicopter

The most hi-tech helicopter in Europe has been unveiled as the latest recruit to the police in Northern Ireland.

The £7 million Eurocopter EC 145 is capable of speeds reaching 150 miles per hour and is equipped with state-of-the-art camera and heat-seeking equipment to help track suspects from the air.

The aircraft, which will use the callsign Police 45, will work in tandem with the PSNI's existing helicopter, an EC 135.

It is a larger version which can carry up to 10 people and has space for two stretcher casualties in emergencies.

Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said the new addition would add to the vital support already provided by the current helicopter, codenamed Police 44.

"This will substantially enhance our air support capability to help provide a comprehensive policing service," he said.

"It will assist in meeting the ever-increasing demands on policing in every part of Northern Ireland.

"This will include supporting police activities such as investigations, anti-crime operations, traffic management, search and rescue, public order situations, crime reduction initiatives and tackling terrorism."

Mr Harris also defended the multi-million pound investment in the aircraft.

"At a time when public sector purse strings are tightening, I believe this is an important long-term investment in everyone's safety," he said.

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