This past Saturday, 16 June, the RCIPS Air Operations Unit, along with the other specialist units, the Joint Marine Unit and the K9 Unit, were able to play a key role during two incidents in order to help ensure the safety of members of the public and other police officers.
At about 12:20AM on Saturday, 16 June, officers conducting road checks on the Esterley Tibbets Highway near to the Camana Bay roundabout observed a vehicle being driven by a man who was not wearing a seatbelt. The vehicle was signaled to stop and upon approaching and speaking to the driver officers detected the smell of alcohol on his breath. The driver was asked to provide his driver’s license but stated he did not have his wallet with him. He was then asked to pull off to the side of the road but instead drove off at a high rate of speed.
As officers followed the vehicle, the RCIPS helicopter was deployed to provide assistance and tracked the vehicle as it continued to travel at excessive speed. It eventually travelled through South Sound towards Grand Harbour, and upon exiting South Sound Road the vehicle entered the Grand Harbour roundabout and turned on to Shamrock Road travelling against the flow of traffic.
The helicopter directed officers on the ground to where the driver eventually stopped off Prospect Point Road. The driver had fled the vehicle and hid himself in heavy bushes off the roadway. An officer from the K9 Unit was also on location, and using a police dog was able to locate the driver. A roadside breath test was conducted with a reading of 0.055%. The man, age 26 of Bodden Town, was arrested on suspicion of several offenses, including dangerous driving and driving without being qualified. It was later determined that the man had been driving the vehicle without the permission of the owner and he was further arrested on suspicion of taking conveyance without authority. He is currently on bail.
Later that day, shortly before 3:30PM, the 9-1-1 Communications Centre dispatched officers to a report in the Barkers area of West Bay, where a person on shore had lost sight of their companion who was out on the water kitesurfing.
A vessel from the Joint Marine Unit, which was on patrol off Seven Mile Beach, responded and the police helicopter deployed whilst they were on route. The man was located by officers on-board the police helicopter, who directed the Marine Unit vessel to his location. The man was then taken on-board and returned safely to shore.
Upon speaking with the victim it was determined that he had lost control of his board while kitesurfing and fallen into the water. He was able to swim back to his board, but had not been able to get his kite back into the air in order to return to shore and had drifted near to the reef.
The man sustained a minor laceration during the incident which did not require medical attention.
“Over the past year we have continued to invest in our specialist units, with added personnel and further training,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kurt Walton. “Saturday’s incidents show the value of this investment in allowing these units to coordinate and respond quickly whenever it is required, whether assisting in apprehending persons who are breaking the law and endangering others, or simply coming to the aid of those in need.”