Sheffield’s police helicopter base has been closed as a result of cutbacks.
The National Police Air Service officially shut its South Yorkshire base yesterday, Monday February 1, as it deals with a 14 per cent cut to its budget.
The Sheffield site is one of 10 bases in England and Wales that are set to shut this year.
South Yorkshire will no longer have a base, with Wakefield now the nearest location.
But officials have said South Yorkshire should not be seriously affected by the closure, with the organisation providing a ‘truly borderless’ service 24 hours a day.
The NPAS, which runs its operations from West Yorkshire, said despite the closures its helicopters are ‘normally’ able to reach 98 per cent of the population within 20 minutes.
The nearest available NPAS aircraft now attends requests from forces rather than under the old model where individual forces would own and operate their own helicopter in isolation.
Simon Wilkinson, Assistant Operations Director for the National Police Air Service, said: “The closure of NPAS Sheffield on Monday February 1 is part of a national programme of planned activity to ensure that essential air support remains in place to support the police forces of England and Wales at a significantly reduced cost to the public.
“The decision to close NPAS Sheffield was made based on an impact assessment of the ability of the National Police Air Service to provide air support to police forces in line with areas of the greatest threat, harm and risk to the public.
“Alongside this closure, more NPAS bases are extending their operating hours to 24 hours.
“NPAS Carr Gate, based in Wakefield, NPAS Barton and NPAS Birmingham and others across the rest of England and Wales already provide a service 24/7.
“The National Police Air Service is a unique national collaboration across England and Wales providing a truly borderless service.
“Police forces in need of air support contact the NPAS Operations Centre and receive support from the nearest available aircraft at the time.
“NPAS currently provides this support from 17 bases across England and Wales. Through this network, NPAS are normally able to reach 98 per cent of the population of England and Wales within 20 minutes.”