Helicopter plans up in the air


POLICE chiefs have reiterated their commitment to securing a dedicated helicopter for South Yorkshire.

Members of South Yorkshire Police Authority want to retain its current air support unit and have rejected Home Office plans to install a National Police Air Support (NPAS) service.

South Yorkshire became the first force in England to opt out of the scheme.

This scheme would see 23 aircraft operating from 20 bases around the country. It would see South Yorkshire served by helicopters based in three neighbouring counties - West Yorkshire, Humberside and Derbyshire - rather than by the force itself.

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.”

A dedicated website on the Authority’s campaign to secure a police helicopter service for South Yorkshire has been launched.

For more information go to www.southyorks.gov.uk