Call for police chopper in Christchurch

The police Eagle Helicopter. Photo: File / RNZ / Dom Thomas
The police Eagle Helicopter. Photo: File / RNZ / Dom Thomas
Auckland's police helicopter has been instrumental in the arrest of 10 people in early morning incidents spanning a combined 180 kilometres, police say.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said helicopters could follow vehicles safely for a much longer time.

Currently, the only police helicopter in the country is in Auckland.

Cahill wanted to see faster progress made on getting a helicopter for the South Island.

"Given the amount of crime that's occurring, and also the number of fleeing driver incidents we have, it really is a good idea to have one of those [helicopters] based in Christchurch as well, which would also cover a lot of the South Island."

In early 2020, one of the helicopters, taken from the fleet in Auckland, was trialled in Christchurch but has not returned to the city since.

At around 2am in Auckland yesterday, a Honda car with a stolen number plate, failed to stop for police in Wesley, in south-east Auckland.

The Eagle helicopter kept tabs on it from above and two people were arrested 90 kilometres away at Waitakaruru in Waikato.

In the second incident, the chopper monitored two suspicious vehicles from Thames to Takanini in Auckland and arrested eight people after travelling 90 kilometres, trying to avoid the police.

Officers in Thames saw two suspicious vehicles at around 3:30am this morning - one had been reported as stolen.

The vehicles fled but were monitored by the Eagle helicopter as they headed towards Auckland.

One of the cars was spiked before it got to the motorway.

But the occupants then got into the second vehicle, which was spiked further north on State Highway 1 at the Papakura Junction.

In both cases, police say patrol cars decided not to launch a pursuit by road.