Miles Doing What Matters: POLAIR boost to keep Queenslanders safe

JOINT STATEMENT
  • Three new Bell 429 helicopters about to join the POLAIR fleet, growing the SEQ POLAIR fleet from two helicopters
  • New helicopters will enhance aerial capabilities across south-east Queensland with vastly improved safety, technology, camera and night vision capabilities

Three new state of the art Bell 429 helicopters are about to take off from next month, as part of the POLAIR fleet patrolling southeast Queensland.

Two of the new helicopters have already arrived with the third aircraft currently undergoing final testing before delivery to Polair soon.

The investment of three new helicopters grows the SEQ POLAIR fleet from two existing helicopters.

Increasing the SEQ POLAIR fleet to three helicopters is a significant boost for police aerial capabilities, including increased patrol opportunities across south-east Queensland.

The new aircraft will deliver vastly improved safety, technology, camera and night vision capabilities, ensuring the officers are equipped with all the latest, state-of-the art instruments to assist their crime fighting capabilities and responses to critical incidents.

This will assist police in tracking vehicles, arresting offenders and locating missing persons to enhance community safety.

The timing of the delivery of the new aerial assets for south-east Queensland is based on the age and accumulation of operational hours for the existing aircraft.

The new police aerial assets are just the beginning of the QPS aerial capability expansion across the state, with the State Government already announcing and funding police aerial capability for Townsville, Cairns/Far North and the Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay regions.

The initial interim police aerial capability for Townsville is already operational and a tender process is now underway to make this capability permanent.

Tender processes are also underway for the initial interim police aerial capability in each of the Cairns/Far North and Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay regions.

As stated by Premier Steven Miles:

“All Queenslanders expect to feel safe at home, at the shops and in their community.

“That’s why my government is boosting our POLAIR fleet here in Brisbane and around the state.

“It’s all part of our Community Safety Plan for Queensland, backed by $1.3 billion in real funding.

“My plan will deliver more police, more resources and better police infrastructure because that’s what Police saw will make a difference.

“Police have already seen some early signs that the tide is turning on crime as a result of targeted, high visibility policing, so expect to see even more.”

As stated by Minister Mark Ryan:

“Increasing the SEQ POLAIR fleet by 50% will significantly increase the operational capacity for police, which ultimately means a safer community.

“The government’s investment in these helicopters is about stopping criminals in their tracks, and ensuring they are brought before the courts.

“I acknowledge the foresight of QPU President Ian Leavers in advocating for the establishment of this capability over a decade ago. This capability has changed policing for the better and it’s an essential resource for a contemporary police service.”

As stated by Commissioner of Police, Steve Gollschewski:

“POLAIR capability can significantly enhance police operations and support ground-based personnel.

“Having the ability to deploy an aerial asset is game changing for a lot of the jobs the QPS attend.

“The more assistance we can provide our frontline crews, the higher our chances are of resolving critical incidents and keeping the community safe.

“The three new helicopters are a fantastic addition to the POLAIR fleet.”

As stated by QPU President Ian Leavers:

“As a co-founder of POLAIR I’m very pleased to see the further delivery of new helicopters to expand POLAIR.

“From POLAIR’s inception and establishment over a decade ago, I never thought from our humble beginnings we would grow to what we see today and how the service will continue to grow throughout Queensland over the next six months.

“It is gratifying everyone in the community has now been able to share in our vision and see for themselves what a valuable addition this aerial platform has been to police operations, as I always knew it would be.”

FAST FACTS:

  • Three new SEQ POLAIR helicopters to officially become operational from 3 July 2024
  • 2024-25 Queensland State Budget allocates $120 million for SEQ POLAIR capability as part of a ten-year funding arrangement
  • 2024-25 Queensland State Budget provides additional funding of $8.7 million over 10 years to provide additional flight hours for the SEQ POLAIR capability to assist police to track vehicles, arrest offenders and locate missing persons to enhance community safety.
  • The respective tender processes for the new police aerial capabilities in Townsville, Cairns/Far North and Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay are currently being progressed through full and proper government procurement processes and are subject to strict probity oversight to ensure the best outcomes for taxpayers and community safety.

/Public Release. View in full here.