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The emergencies keeping police helicopter busy

by Angela Cole


Patients on the run from hospital, suspicious behaviour and stolen vehicles - the police helicopter is always on the trail of a drama.

The eye in the sky was mobilised 364 times across the county between January 2011 and 2012, according to figures released to the Kent Messenger under the Freedom of Information Act.

The helicopter, which has covered Kent and Essex since 2008, was most often called during the night, with the majority of outings between 11pm and 2am.

In west Kent, its most frequent reason for being called out was to burglaries - it went to 14 in Maidstone and Aylesford.

It was also called out to five cases of missing people and patients absconding from secure units or care in the Maidstone and West Malling area.

The same patch also saw seven incidents where there was concern for someone's safety.

The chopper attended five thefts, two criminal damage cases and a further six involving bad driving.

A domestic dispute in Maidstone, which looked likely to escalate into a breach of the peace, a suspected suicide in the middle of the afternoon and two cases of animals straying onto the road, also put it into action.

A police spokesman said: "We record details of all incidents reported on a computer system known as Storm, which allows resources to be assigned where appropriate.

"In certain circumstances it may be necessary to call upon the police helicopter."

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