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Heli-tele Feed Good News For Police

A camera underneath a Police helicopter is providing real-time footage for officers running the Police special operations control centre.

The 12 DS Wescam camera will be a permanent installation at the Northern Communications Centre after Apec and is proving a real bonus for controllers tracking operational activity around the city.

Its success however goes beyond Apec. It will give North-Comms staff an aerial view of major incidents including traffic and crime and provide greater detail to more quickly resolve issues such as traffic gridlock or night time crime.

The camera is gyro controlled which provides stable pictures and 360 degree viewing despite the movement or direction of the helicopter. Images are downloaded via a GPS microwave link meaning controllers back in the operations room can see what's happening on the ground.

This means greater control of operational activity as well as useful evidential footage. The camera also has an infra-red capability for night time flying.

Police are generally flying between 1000 ft to 1500 ft in this operation, and the camera is operated by Police crew in the helicopter.

A special feature of the system is its remote capability. The aerial and receiving equipment can be loaded into a four-wheel drive and driven to a location outside Auckland, enabling greater operational use.

An earlier version of the heli-tele feed was used by Police during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1996.

Police say the cost of the new system is commercially sensitive.

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