Thursday, 16 August 2012

Copper chopper

Every now and then, a police helicopter hovers over our little bit of the UK making its usual infernal racket. I’m never sure what they are up to, but nothing ever happens. No wailing sirens and flashing blue lights ever converge on the spot below the helicopter, which is sometimes our house.

Is it the equivalent of stopping for a smoke in a handy lay-by? Obviously there are no aerial lay-bys, so do they just stop for a smoke, a sandwich and a sip of tea from the official police Thermos before moving on to sweep the sky clear of criminal elements?

Or is it more a case of creating a visible and highly audible police presence? The modern equivalent of the local bobby’s measured tread advancing down the street, but considerably ramped up decibel-wise. Much like the old copper’s beat but covering far more territory per shift and the added advantage of waking everybody up at night.

Do they have a set route with defined aerial parking spots so as many innocent people as possible notice their presence and feel the need to seem just that bit more law-abiding in the way they mow the lawn?

Because let’s face it, there isn’t a lot of crime up there in the sky and how many master criminals allow their nefarious activities to be visible to one of those deafening sky-tractors? My guess, any it’s only a guess mind, but my guess is none.

So what’s it all about? Mostly searching apparently. No mention of tea breaks.

North Midlands Helicopter Support Unit Daily Task Sheet

These logs show you examples of what the helicopter has been involved in during the last few weeks.
23/07/2012BolsoverSuspect SearchSearch for a person who ran off from the scene of a car accident.
23/07/2012MatlockSearch for vehicleSearch for a Ford van seen in suspicious circumstances.
23/07/2012ChesterfieldMissing Person SearchSearch for an elderly missing person suffering from dementia.
23/07/2012New TownSuspect SearchSearch for a group of males who ran off after dumping a stolen vehicle.


Angus Dei said...

The same thing happens dahn 'ere in 'Ampshire, the noisy great thing hovers for about half an hour-no sirens or blue lights in sight/hearing then goes away to do it somewhere else.

I think they just like flying about in the dead of night when they are bored.

Macheath said...

We have the same thing occasionally - the accepted practice here is to give it about 12 hours, then pop into the village shop, where local gossip will usually be able to supply the reason.

Sam Vega said...

I love the "Daily Task Sheet". Obviously squirted straight out of a managerial spread sheet, cut so that it can give stats on anything at the click of a mouse. There are probably another couple of hundred columns on the "master file", detailing things like cost, clear-up rate, response time, and originating officer. All ready to be trotted out if they make the managers look good, and quietly ignored if they don't.

Manwhile, back in the real world...

Anonymous said...

It's possible they are not watching you, or even anyone near you. With the right devices they can see through the letter-box of a house miles away. Well, not literally but certainly they can conduct surveillance on a street or a house so far away the residents can't even hear the chopper!

Demetrius said...

Aren't we lucky, not only do we get our local helicopter but also every siren imaginable at all times. Mind you we are near a motorway junction at a section where shunts etc are a daily feature. What is odd about this is that sirens are used at times when there is no traffic on the local roads. Its all very macho.

A K Haart said...

Angus - I bet 'Ampshire isn't so much a notorious crime area, but does have the budget.

Mac - you don't get crime in villages do you?

Sam - I wonder if the things are audited in any way, because it all seems rather minor to me.

David - I think they are just looking through bedroom windows - that kind of surveillance.

Demetrius - I agree. I think sirens are an absurdly common part of urban life now. Macho is right - lot of it about.

Macheath said...

Maybe our village is a statistical anomaly - like the one in Midsomer Murders - but the police seem to be flying around every few months or so weeks looking for suspects fleeing from crimes committed nearby.

In fact, our most spectacular helicopter operation followed a late-night armed robbery at the village shop itself - the gossip was quite animated the morning after that one, I can tell you!

James Higham said...

Lovely shade of black and gold.

A K Haart said...

Mac - armed robbery at the village shop? Sounds like a story from the Archers!

James - easy for the crims to spot too.