Christchurch gets its very own eye in the sky with Police Eagle helicopter to be trialled

It's a crucial weapon in tracking criminals but up until now, it's only been available in Auckland.

The Police Eagle Helicopter will be trialled in Christchurch for five weeks starting on Monday.

It comes just ahead of the first anniversary of the mosque attacks where 51 people died.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush told reporters on Monday morning it's not being deployed because of that upcoming anniversary but for general crime, police pursuits and road safety.

As part of the trial, police will look to determine whether other communities will benefit from having closer access to the chopper.

Its focus will be on whether there's further demand for the service.

Bush said they've seen the benefits the Eagle has brought to policing and public safety. He said policing has changed significantly since the introduction of the Auckland-based chopper in 1988.

"Eagle now attends 6000 incidents a year with over half of these involving road policing and road safety, including fleeing driver incidents," Bush said in a statement.

"It is clear that air support offers benefits to our frontline policing by providing aerial surveillance and monitoring from a safe distance and with a wider picture - enabling an efficient response and resolution."

Canterbury District Commander Supt John Price said the Eagle was deployed to Canterbury on four different occasions after the March 15 shooting, as well as for the visit of Prince William.

The trial will involve a helicopter and crew normally based in Auckland, Police Minister Stuart Nash said. From there it will be decided whether the move will be permanent.

"We now have the largest police workforce in New Zealand history," he said in a statement. "The ability for police to have an 'eye in the sky' can make a real difference to public safety."