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Choppers could replace road pursuits for Vic police

Victorian criminals could now be pursed by helicopter following calls for a 24-hour Polair service.

Criminals would be chased from the air by helicopters under a proposal to replace road pursuits and stop offenders speeding away from police.

The Victorian Police Association has suggested a 24-hour helicopter service dedicated to backing up officers on the ground.

It comes after people driving a stolen car shot at police at Hoppers Crossing yesterday following a short pursuit.

Special Operations Group police arrested three men in Werribee over the incident last night.

Association secretary Ron Iddles said it was the sixth time officers had been either shot at or driven at in recent months. He said a helicopter dedicated to supporting police should be "seriously considered".

They do it overseas. It's feasible but yes it would cost money

"If you had a police helicopter in the air… you would have the ability to follow vehicles without endangering members or the public," he said.

"They do it overseas. It's feasible but yes it would cost money."

Opposition legal spokesman John Pesutto called on Premier Daniel Andrews to allocate more funding for police so the force could pay for equipment, including helicopters.

"We need to strike a better balance when it comes to police pursuits," he said. "We want to ensure criminals don't get confident thinking they can so easily evade police.

"Victoria Police needs more police officers and more resources, whether that is helicopters or other equipment."

The two police shot at in yesterday's attack were offered counselling after a bullet hit the driver's side of their police car about 3.25am.

They had earlier given chase after noticing the stolen car, but abandoned their pursuit on Derrimut Rd because they deemed it too dangerous. Minutes later, the offenders drove back toward the police and fired a shot.

The State Government has not ruled out the idea of using helicopters and will work with Victoria Police if the force seeks further resources.

Victoria Police spokesman Ben Radisich said: "The Victoria Police Aviation Capability Project is reviewing future service demand needs for aerial services and will soon provide a recommendation."

Police Minister Wade Noonan said: "We always work closely with Victoria Police."