SOUTH Yorkshire is to keep its own police helicopter for 10 hours a day after new proposals to join a new national service on a shared basis were approved.
The aircraft will be available on a 10-hour shift for seven days a week, 365 days a year, while the county will also have access to the National Police Air Service (NPAS) from bases in West Yorkshire, Humberside and Derbyshire for the remaining 14 hours each day.
South Yorkshire Police Authority said it had agreed in principle to join the nationwide scheme on a shared basis, after raising concerns that the initial plans did not provide sufficient cover for the county.
Charles Perryman, authority chairman said: “A ten-hour shift pattern for a Sheffield based aircraft would provide best coverage for time critical tasks, whilst also ensuring our full collaboration and engagement with NPAS.”
“We and the chief constable are confident that the joint approach provides comprehensive operational air support to the communities of South Yorkshire at a more resilient level than could have been achieved if we were not to engage with the national service.”
“The original proposals were unacceptable and if the police authority had not challenged the national plans we wouldn’t be getting this improved resilience which is a massive improvement.”
“NPAS is about quality of service and the change will see South Yorkshire being covered by a helicopter service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the first time. This is a significant development in providing modern and effective policing to the county.”
He added that the structure has been developed following extensive research and negotiations between the force, police authority and NPAS.