Abu Dhabi: Helicopters fitted with infrared video cameras are taking to the skies in a bid to catch reckless drivers.

The flying patrols, which belong to the Abu Dhabi Police Air Wing, will monitor traffic and catch violators, Abu Dhabi Police said on Monday.

The helicopters are equipped with infrared video cameras, which assist them in taking images in all weather conditions, in addition to night filters allowing them to catch offenders at night.

The step has been taken to prevent young drivers from performing dangerous stunts on the roads, and to prevent all illegal activities from taking place on the city’s streets. This initiative comes within the framework of taking measures to ensure that the roads are safe for all road users and that the number of deaths and injuries due to accidents are halted.

Brigadier Hussain Ahmad Al Harithi, director of Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrol Directorate, said that helicopters are currently being sent out on patrol throughout the emirate. The helicopters will take video footage of accidents and identify locations with major traffic jams to help patrol cars clear these areas and carry out their duties more effectively.

The choppers will also be on the lookout for vehicles travelling without a licence plate, or those carrying fake ones, and will report them to Abu Dhabi Police officials for prosecution.

A statement by Abu Dhabi Police confirmed that the new road watchers will be on duty day and night, but did not give information regarding their exact working hours.

Usually, the Abu Dhabi Police Air Wing is employed to carry out rescue missions, such as finding and helping people stranded in the desert, or at sea.

It was reported recently that ‘flashless’ infrared cameras with a five-lane range are being installed at 40 intersections in the city of Abu Dhabi. These devices have the ability to capture motorists who jump red signals, and to assess the number of vehicles on the road, while estimating the average speed at which vehicles are travelling as well as the number of pedestrians crossing.