By Carla Penman
Nocturnal criminal behaviour is more under surveillance than ever by the Police Eagle Helicopter since it turned into a 24-7 operation.
Over the past 114 days, the Eagle has attended close to 2,000 jobs.
The head of the unit, Sergeant Callum Young, says the surge in demand for it has been in the dead of the night, partly when it wasn't previously in action.
They've been involved in pursuing 222 fleeing drivers, locating 71 missing people and been involved with 128 robberies and 139 burglaries since October.
He says they've quickly become one of the police's fastest responding assets in the country.
"If we happen to get a call for service whilst running administration in the office, it's about four minutes to get to the helicopter and get skids off the ground," he says.
Young says anything's possible for them now.
"We fly generally around 60 to 70 hours a week. So a lot of the times when jobs come in, Eagle's actually already airborne, which makes our response time really really fast across Auckland."
He says they've had a few noise complaints but it was expected.
"The vast majority of people who have raised concerns around the noise have ended up being incredibly thankful for the reasons why we were in their community trying to keep them safe."
Young says another kind of job they've become increasingly relied on for is water rescues.
They've attended 54 incidents so far this summer.
"We're now working those early shift days on the weekend when a lot of people hit the beaches so it's predominantly is when people get in trouble in the surf or out on their boats."
Young says the job's in hot demand.
"When we went 24-7, I think we ended up having 70 odd applicants from memory that initially applied when I put one advert out," he says.
"But it's a daily occurrence of someone ringing my office and wanting to come down and see what we do."