Mmegi Online :: Cops to buy more helicopters
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Last Updated
Tuesday 24 May 2016, 06:00 am.
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Cops to buy more helicopters

The Botswana Police Service (BPS) plans to beef up its aviation fleet, starting with the replacement of the helicopter that crashed between Gumare and Maun earlier this year.
By Maranyane Ngwanaamotho Tue 04 Nov 2014, 16:29 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Cops to buy more helicopters








The BPS plans to increase aviation crew and restart their sky patrols over Gaborone, which were suspended after the crash in April, due to the lack of craft. Yesterday, the director of the Air Support Branch, Arthur Johnson told Mmegi that the only obstacle to their goals is lack of funds, but they are hopeful that they will secure extra helicopters in the near future. Prior to the crash – which claimed the lives of three officers – the police service had three helicopters doing patrols around the country.  “The most urgent task right now is to replace the helicopter that was lost during the accident,” Johnson said.

“We had plans to increase our fleet even before the crash. There was even a tender notice that was floating before the accident.  “But right now we are under pressure to replace the lost helicopter so that we can at least go back to our normal routines,” said Johnson. He said two officers are currently being trained as pilots in South Africa. The

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service had 11 trained pilots and lost two during the crash. “Now we have nine. We have four based in Francistown, while three are operational here in Gaborone.

There are also two instructor pilots who do fly sometimes. But most of the time they are training the operational ones,” he said.  Funds permitting, Johnson would want to send two more students to South Africa in the next financial year.

Meanwhile, Johnson said that ever since the helicopter crash the police air patrols have not been as frequent as they used to be.  This is because they had to slash their air patrol operations by half, operating with one aircraft in the north and one here in Gaborone and surrounding areas.

“We are still operational. Before the accident, we had two helicopters based here in Gaborone. One was dedicated to Gaborone while the other one was assisting in areas like Lobatse, Kang, and Gantsi. But now we are trying to make ends meet with just one in all these areas,” he said.

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