Beijing coppers to fly choppers in 2008
Beijing police will use helicopters in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics to ensure they are fully mobile during the Games, an official with the Beijing Public Security Bureau revealed yesterday.
Spokesman Zhao Feng told China Daily that the purchase of the helicopters will be included in the overall preparation plans for the huge sporting event.
He said there is still a lot of work to be done before police can take to the skies, such as setting up a training base for pilots. Rapid-response riot police also have to be trained.
Zhao said the bureau has not decided on the number, model and configurations of the helicopters.
"Police helicopters will play an important role in maintaining social order in the national capital, ensuring the Olympic Games go smoothly," he said.
Besides Beijing, police in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, are also preparing to start using helicopters.
The Nanjing Public Security Bureau announced last week that it had signed with a Hong Kong-based company to buy a US-made R-22, which will be in operation by the end of the year.
It will be used during routine patrols, to track criminals and control traffic, as well as for fire and flood prevention, according to the bureau.
China had 13 police helicopters by the end of last year, which were mainly used in the cities of Guangzhou, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Tianjin.
As the national police budget for equipment increases by 10 per cent annually, experts predict that about 30 helicopters will be used within a couple of years.
Trade talks are being held between the Ministry of Public Security and several famous helicopter producers, said Tao Junsheng, vice-director of the Equipment and Financial Affairs Bureau under the ministry.
He said the ministry is also discussing pilot training options with the colleges affiliated to the Civil Aviation Administration.
Tao said the ministry will set some of the standards relating to the types of helicopters used.
China's first police helicopter was airborne above Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province, in 1996.
Police in Zhengzhou and Guangzhou have also been equipped with helicopters.