Talks continue over police helicopter

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POLICE authority members have asked for more time to consider proposed changes to South Yorkshire’s police helicopter service.

At a meeting, the South Yorkshire Police Authority discussed plans for a National Police Air Service, which would see the county losing its own dedicated chopper.

Instead, South Yorkshire would be served by helicopters based in West Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Humberside, which could extend response times for parts of the region.

Both the authority and the police force have been in discussion with the air service to find an alternative which would keep a helicopter in the county.

During the meeting, members of the police authority raised a number of points to be followed up around the issue of response times, and time-critical incidents.

Members asked for the extra information to be delivered to the authority at a special meeting.

National discussions are also taking place to verify costs and operational requirements for the helicopter scheme across the country and the Home Office is in the process of drawing up a national agreement that all authorities will be asked to sign later this year.

The county’s current police helicopter cost £4m to buy and first took to the skies in 2003.