New police air service starts

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South Yorkshire Police along with forces in the north east of England joined the National Police Air Service (NPAS) on Monday.

Last April the Home Office decided police air support would be provided by a national service, and concerns were raised about whether it would result in a reduced service.

Under the new scheme, the current South Yorkshire Police helicopter will remain at its base in Sheffield and provide cover for the county during a ten-hour peak period, 365 days a year.

However the aircraft and its staff will be managed by NPAS.

During the remaining 14 hours each day, the county will be served by aircraft from neighbouring NPAS bases in West Yorkshire, Humberside and Derbyshire.

Across the country 25 NPAS aircraft at 23 bases will provide air support 24 hours a day.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright said: “We have fought to maintain air support based in South Yorkshire.”

“I believe air support is a critical crime-fighting tool and will do my best to ensure it continues to deliver for the community of South Yorkshire.”