$3m-a-year chopper ‘to end crime wave’
A POLICE helicopter costing $3 million a year would be based in Townsville if the LNP wins government, State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington will announce today.
Equipped with Forward Looking Infrared Camera Technology, the police chopper is being pitched as an "eye in the sky" for North Queensland to tackle the surge in property crime.
Part of the LNP's pitch to "end the crime wave", Ms Frecklington said the "air power" had already proved its worth in southeast Queensland.
"And it's time for North Queensland to get one too," she said.
"An LNP Government will give our police the equipment and resources they need to fight crime.
"I am determined to protect communities right across Queensland and crack down on Labor's crime wave."
Opposition police spokesman Trevor Watts said the Townsville-based chopper would cost $3 million a year but would be "invaluable" to police officers on the ground in North Queensland.
"The last LNP Government provided two POLAIR choppers for southeast Queensland and they are now an integral part of the police service," he said.
"They hugely increase the ability of police to track offenders and safely apprehend them."
The State Opposition, led by former leader Tim Nicholls, also promised a police helicopter for Townsville prior to the 2017 election.
Queensland's two police choppers, POLAIR 1 based on the Gold Coast and POLAIR 2 based in Brisbane, were involved in a combined 3288 "proactive" and "reactive" tasks in the 2017-18 financial year, according to the most recent QPS annual report.
POLAIR was the first police resource on the scene in 767 incidents during that year, and was responsible for locating 963 offenders wanted on a range of offences including murder, attempted murder, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping and serious traffic offences. The State Government in 2016 allocated $29.9 million to keep POLAIR 1 and POLAIR 2 in the sky until at least July 2022.
The next state election will be held on October 31 next year.