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Old 18 July 2004, 07:34   #1
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Rescuer shortage 'risking lives'

Just seen this article on the BBC website

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3903083.stm

It did make me stop and think - we rely so much on the RNLI - a charity! The government should do more - and what about the air ambulance - again always struggling to raise funds and nowhere near enough of them.

In South Wales if you need an air sea rescue helicopter you have to wait for one to come from Devon - they closed the Welsh base years ago. Also many smaller coastguard stations have been closed over the years.

Having said that the government always find the money for Police helicopters. Now I know they are sometimes used for public safety etc but they are a very expensive way of policing. The crew aren't trained to anywhere near the same level and they don't usually have winches etc.

It strikes me as rather bad maths to use a £5,000,000 helicopter to chase joyriders in a £200 car.

Our local police helicopter is now being used to catch people driving offroad illegally - since January they have caught 20 of these EVIL people!

Joyriding is all but dying out - they just can't get modern cars away with their fancy new electronics - there aren't many Maestros and old Astras left!

It costs vast sums to run a helicopter - about £5000 per hour - West Yorkshire Police spend on average 4 hours a day in the air - that's 20K per DAY. When you see what a typical day consists of you would be horrified. Most of it is classified as training - a typical day described by yorkshire police involved catching a stolen caravan and a youth with an air rifle(who wasn't breaking the law anyway).

Many large American cities don't have their own police helicopters - do we really need them in Britain? I think more bobbies on the ground would be far better and a lot cheaper - maybe then they could put the money where it's really needed.

I was also looking at the really expensive RIB Dyfed powys police have - no doubt really needed but rotting away in a boat yard - looks like it hasn't moved in a long time!
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Old 18 July 2004, 08:50   #2
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Very interesting and disturbing report. And I am much in agreement with your viewpoint, codprawn.

One little point - you called it "bad maths" to send a £5M helicopter to chase joyriders in a £200 car - I don't think the value of the stolen goods is particularly relevant to the argument, more the point that serious injury or tragedy could result from incidents involving stolen vehicles.

However, the BBC article can give us some confidence in our political system - the Transport Select Committee isn't retreating to a defensive position and appears to be taking a pragmatic view on the MCA's effectiveness in maritime safety. This is in accordance with the political point of view shown in a book I'm reading at the moment - "Strong to Save" http://www.saxoncourtbooks.co.uk/seaspray/itm01204.htm or http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...3-5057443which gives an account of Edward Heath's "threat" to take over the RNLI, and Harold Wilson's deep respect of the service. It would appear that even politicians have accepted that the RNLI is most effectively run outside the constraints of Government.
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Old 18 July 2004, 09:02   #3
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[QUOTE=Richard B] Very interesting and disturbing report. And I am much in agreement with your viewpoint, codprawn.

One little point - you called it "bad maths" to send a £5M helicopter to chase joyriders in a £200 car - I don't think the value of the stolen goods is particularly relevant to the argument, more the point that serious injury or tragedy could result from incidents involving stolen vehicles.

I USED to think like that as well - until on 3 occasions I have come close to having a serious accident due to the police chasing these so called joyriders. Is is really worth risking the public?

Swansea is the worst place in the UK for joyriders - they take great delight in taunting the police into following them - it really makes their day if the helicopter gets involved as well.

Opposite my house is the main dumping ground for these stolen cars - a big hill covered in forestry - the cars you see being dumped their say it all - Maestros - Astras - and even a Volvo 240 estate!!!

Normal crime in swansea is not too bad - there is nowhere unsafe to walk at night - just don't leave your car!
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Old 18 July 2004, 09:04   #4
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Having had an “interesting” conversation with a Jehovah-Witness this morning, he said that the world will come to an end within 12 months, so I wouldn’t worry about the costs of these helicopters; this time next year we won’t be here!
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Old 18 July 2004, 09:17   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn
Is is really worth risking the public?
That's the question... what's more risky - let them carry on or "chase" and attempt to stop 'em? Use of a £5M helicopter seems OTT, but has the use of 'copters helped with the reduction in car crime? Is it a good idea to use cheap, effective "stingers" or is it unsafe to have criminals careering around on flat tyres? I don't claim to have the answers, but like you I certainly think that there's an irony in throwing resources at a police force that looks like it just needs staff, and having a Coastguard which could use all types of resources to save lives effectively.

Perhaps the Coastguard could ask the Police to assist in coastal rescues when they need a helicopter? (Subject to the appropriate training having been completed in their allegdely already extensive programme.)
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Old 18 July 2004, 10:57   #6
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If the Police helicopter was following a stolen vehicle that had your stolen boat attached to it, i dont think you would complain.

If the Police helicopter found your child that had gone missing, I don't think you would complain.

People who steal cars are not just joy riders, lots of criminals use stolen vehicles to commit crime, these criminals should be chased and caught. If the police helicopter makes this safer for everyone then it is a good thing.

It takes a helicopter minutes to search open land for missing people, the same task could take hours if done on foot and would take lots of people costing just as much money.

I think the real issue here is the fact that vast sums of public money is wasted by goverment. This money could be better spent funding the RNLI and all other emergency services buying helicopters for anyone who needed them.

If the courts locked these people up perhaps the police would not need so many helicopters.
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Old 18 July 2004, 16:48   #7
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There is a device available that can track and stop a stolen car via the GSM mobile network and GPS network...

Basically your car rings you when it is stolen and you can actually kill the engine using your phone....

Given that most cars now have phones and satnav this technology could be used to stop all future car crime....

It would even work on boats.....


Have a look www.i-mob.co.uk

Could save a lot of police time and helicopters

Gazza
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Old 18 July 2004, 17:48   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodie
If the Police helicopter was following a stolen vehicle that had your stolen boat attached to it, i dont think you would complain.

If the Police helicopter found your child that had gone missing, I don't think you would complain.

Of course I wouldn't - in fact there would be nothing I would like better than for a Police helicopter to be stationed directly ABOVE my boat 365 days a year!

"It takes a helicopter minutes to search open land for missing people, the same task could take hours if done on foot and would take lots of people costing just as much money."

Yes but this is only a very small part of what the helicopter does - the RAF helicopters also do this - there would be more of them dedicated to RESCUE if they were allocated the money.

"If the courts locked these people up perhaps the police would not need so many helicopters.
"

Most definitely - what do they do after spending a fortune catching these little shits - give em a community slap on the wrist and let em carry on! Of course if you were to catch them yourself and treat them accordingly you would feel the full might of the law.

It amazes me how much the government harp on about antisocial behaviour etc but do nothing about it- my Aunt who is 80 lives in terror of little gits on her street who make the residents lives a misery - they break windows - damage cars etc and yet they are untouchable - why? Because they are aged between 9 and 16 and they know full well that if ANYONE touches them then they can scream child abuse etc. There is only one language they understand - and the law protects them far better than you or I.
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Old 20 July 2004, 06:13   #9
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Gents

Please don't lose sight of the fact that there are some very dedicated Volunteer coastguards all around the coast, all of which are willing to come to your aid at any time of the day and night and in all weathers.

At the last count it was somewhere in the region of 3300.

The closure of stations has occured due to the advances in electronics and the like which makes it bad business sense to maintain stations/lookouts that are not really required.

The increase in "Deaths" or "Incidents", could be attributable to the fact that a lot more people are getting out on the water than ever before, similarly, has anyone taken into account the addition statistics from the River Thames area now, which does have a lot of suicides and attempted suicides from bridges...

I have been involved with the coastguard service for some years now, and the advances I have seen have in some cases been remarkable.

So rest assured gents, whatever the politics the station doors will still open and dedicated people will come to your aid if required.

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