Child rescue shows helicopter’s worth

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THE DRAMATIC rescue of a young child who had been reported as missing in Ambergate was one of 2011’s most urgent jobs for the area’s police helicopter.

The vital role played by the North Midlands Helicopter Support Unit, which covers Derbyshire, has been marked.

It took a key role in dozens of rescues throughout last year, including that of the missing youngster on July 14.

The crew were requested to search an area of farmland at Ambergate for a child who had run off from school.

Police closed a road as it was feared she might run in front of a vehicle. Fortunately, the child was found by officers and brought to safety, with the helicopter’s help from the air.

Last year the crew helped to find 214 crime suspects in Derbyshire between January 1 and December 1.

In C Division, which covers Chesterfield and Amber Valley, it flew 121 operational hours and attended 444 tasks, leading to 45 direct arrests and 21 assisted arrests.

It also helped locate 12 vulnerable and missing people and 14 missing vehicles.

The North Midlands Helicopter Support Unit is jointly owned by Derbyshire Constabulary and Nottinghamshire Police and is based at police headquarters in Ripley.

John Jameson, North Midlands Helicopter Support Unit Executive Officer, said: “The helicopter brings a dimension to policing which can’t be achieved by conventional means.

“Thanks to the crews, many suspects were caught who may have evaded capture if the helicopter had not attended an incident.”