Police helicopters deployed 50 percent more often since 2015

Armored car stunt helicopter
A helicopter flies over the Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam as police respond nearby to a disturbance at an armored truck. Aug. 28, 2015 (photo: Zack Newmark / NL Times). (photo: Zack Newmark / NL Times)

There is a consistent increase in the police helicopters deployment as a support to the police forces on the ground. According to police statistics acquired by BNR, the police helicopters were mobilized 2,082 times in 2015, while this year they were deployed over 3,121 times to date, an increase of about 50 percent.

The Dutch police have eight helicopters flying mainly from Schiphol Amsterdam and Rotterdam-The Hague Airport. They are mostly used over the Randstad megaregion.

Arjen Stobbe, of the aviation police unit, manages the operations of the helicopters from Schiphol. He confirms that there is also a modest increase in the success of the operations. Although direct results of a police helicopter's action are visible only seen in seven percent of the cases, Stobbe says there is still a better outcome than when a normal police team goes at it solo.

"We count [the increase] only when we really made a difference, when the arrest was carried out only by our intervention," he says. According to him the percentage is alo growing "because cooperation with the ground forces is constantly improving." The helicopters also play an important role monitoring the safety of their colleagues on the ground, he says.

As a way of addressing the increase in noise that helicopters bring to neighborhoods, Stobbe wants the public to follow the police helicopter teams on Twitter so they know when and why the unit is flying overhead. Stobbe adds that there has not been a significant increase in flights at night.