A police helicopter made a flying visit to a South Tyneside school as the force reached out to youngsters.
Pupils from St Aloysius Infants and Junior School, in Argyle Street, Hebburn, watched in awe as the chopper landed on the school’s playing field.
The children then got the chance to step on board and learn more about the helicopter, while they were later treated to a display by the force’s police dogs.
Also there were officers from Hebburn Neighbourhood Policing Team.
They brought a police car and van with riot shields and helmets, which the youngsters – who were joined by pupils from the neighbouring St Oswalds Primary School – were able to try on.
Local Neighbourhood Inspector John Smith said: “This is the first time we have hosted an event where we have had the helicopter land in a primary school playing field. Events like this are important to us as they enable us to engage with our local communities in a fun and positive way.
The children were very excited to be given this opportunity of seeing the police helicopter and dog section up closeNick Conway
“Some of these school children may have never spoken to a police officer before and may think that we just turn up if people have been naughty, but by meeting us and speaking to us we hope they can see that we are also there to help.
“We are always happy to stop and say hello whenever we are out and about on patrol, and want to encourage people to stop and speak to us when they see us – we’ll even pose for a selfie.”
St Aloysius headteacher Nick Conway said: “The children were very excited to be given this opportunity of seeing the police helicopter and dog section up close.
“We have a fantastic relationship with our local neighbourhood team and it was great that we could introduce the children to other areas of the Northumbria force. Thanks also to DC Woods for his help in setting up this unique experience.”
Steven Jones, assistant operations director for the National Police Air Service (NPAS) said: “Children were given a fantastic opportunity to meet the crew who help keep communities safe 24/7, and find out about the role they carry out in the helicopter, which can remain airborne for in excess of two hours with a cruise speed of 140 knots. They were also be able to look around the aircraft, which is equipped to capture and transmit broadcast quality video in the daytime and thermal imaging in darkness, a high magnification lens, mapping system, Nitesun searchlight and more.”