Future of police helicopter up in the air

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Police chiefs have reiterated their commitment to securing a dedicated police helicopter service for South Yorkshire.

Members of South Yorkshire Police Authority want to retain the current air support unit and have rejected Home Office plans to install a National Police Air Support service, which will see 23 aircraft operating from 20 bases around the country.

The nearest helicopters for South Yorkshire would be based in Derbyshire, Humberside and West Yorkshire.

To resolve the issue the Police Authority has requested further information from NPAS on how they will serve South Yorkshire.

Charles Perryman, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Authority, said: “We want a police helicopter to be based in South Yorkshire to maintain an effective and resilient air support for the county.

“We require reassurances from Government that the national scheme will not reduce services to the county. Despite repeated requests for additional information from the National Police Air Support team, nothing has been received.

“Members of the authority have now agreed to take this back to their local councils and involve cabinet ministers in order to achieve a resolution to the issue.

“The helicopter strengthens the force’s ability to reduce crime, protect vulnerable people and reduce vehicle accidents and the value of this cannot be underestimated.”

n See www.southyorks.gov.uk for further details.