Fight goes on to save South Yorkshire police helicopter

Eye in the sky: South Yorkshire's police helicopter, which bosses want to retain for up to 10 hours a day.

Eye in the sky: South Yorkshire's police helicopter, which bosses want to retain for up to 10 hours a day.

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POLICE chiefs in South Yorkshire want permission to retain the county’s helicopter for use for up to 10 hours a day when a new national air service is launched.

Under the plans for the national scheme, which would see police forces sharing choppers, South Yorkshire would be covered by helicopters based in Derbyshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside.

The Government is forcing all police forces to sign up to the national service, but South Yorkshire’s new Chief Constable wants permission for his force to retain its helicopter and use it for ‘time-critical tasks’ to avoid criminals slipping the net.

Chief Constable David Crompton, in a report written for a Police Authority meeting next week, said retaining South Yorkshire’s helicopter at least on a ‘reduced hours’ basis would benefit the county.

“An option to retain an aircraft on reduced hours based within South Yorkshire would enable time-critical and other planned tasks within the force area to be met, and also to ensure our full collaboration with the National Police Air Service project,” he said.

“Through South Yorkshire Police’s involvement within the NPAS framework, this proposal maintains operational coverage from the helicopter for the communities of South Yorkshire to a more resilient level than could be achieved if we were not to engage.

“Sixty-two per cent of time-critical tasks occur between 3pm and 1am throughout a week.”

Do you think the helicopter is a vital crime fighting tool?

Email: letters@thestar.co.uk.

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