UNAMID police undertake first helicopter patrols over IDP camps
22 July 2008 -- UNAMID police conducted their first helicopter patrol flights over five camps housing displaced persons in Darfur on Sunday, 20 July.
The three-hour test flight was part of a UNAMID police initiative to use helicopters as an additional means of transport to reach selected IDP camps as an alternative to long distance road patrols which have proved to be very risky to the unarmed Police Advisors.
During the test flight, the helicopters spent about five minutes hovering over each IDP camp to establish UNAMID presence in the camps.
Subsequent flights will land at the IDP camps where UNAMID Police Advisors will disembark to carry out their mandated activities in relation to community policing, monitoring investigations into gender-based violence cases, and hold discussions with the IDP leadership on how to improve security in the camps.
It is hoped that the use of helicopters for police patrols will enhance UNAMID police activities by getting access to more camps and minimize the risk of ambush, car jackings and attacks on UNAMID Police Advisors when they go out on patrols in vehicles, the mission says.