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Strictly regulate police helicopters

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Opened on August 27, 2017
 

Night-time flights by police helicopters over residential areas cause misery while they happen, but they also deprive people of needed sleep.  Even if the noise of a hovering helicopter lasts only 30 minutes (and it often lasts longer), a person's sleep may be irretrievably affected.

The resulting dangers are clear: a bus driver who nods off at the wheel, a surgeon or anaesthetist who only had 4 hours sleep - in these cases, deaths, maiming and bereavement become much likelier.  Such events will certainly have already occurred, given the sheer number of flights and the number of affected households.  There will also be lost days at work, inadequate performance in the workplace or at school, etc. etc.

Even if police helicopters help in the 'fight against crime', the human cost has been completely ignored, no doubt in part because you cannot prosecute the police for the results of sleep loss, however appalling.  The evidence that helicopters do make a significant contribution is slim; moreover, the use of helicopters is extremely expensive.  In view of all this: (a) the use of police helicopters (especially at night) should be much more strictly regulated than it is at present; the guiding principle should be 'Only launch a helicopter in an emergency, and where the efficacy of helicopters is proven' - (b) the number of active police helicopters in the UK should be cut by at least 30%.

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