There is a long term plan for the UK Police air support units to rationalise, and originally there was a target date of April 2012 put on this (see story). In September 2011 we published a story reporting South Yorkshire Police were unhappy with the plans as they would lose their MD Explorer and airborne law enforcement would be provided from helicopters in neighbouring counties. Prima face, they will not have the level of response they and before and are thus refusing to accept the NPAS (National Police Air Service) recommendations. Now the police authority (to whom the law enforcement officers are accountable) have published this press release:-
South Yorkshire Police Authority has reiterated its commitment to securing a dedicated police helicopter service for the county.
Members of the Authority want to retain the current air support and have rejected Home Office plans to install a National Police Air Support (NPAS) service, which will see 23 aircraft operating from 20 bases around the country.
The nearest helicopters for South Yorkshire are planned to be based in Derbyshire, Humberside and West Yorkshire.
To resolve the issue the Police Authority has requested further information from NPAS on how they will serve South Yorkshire.
Charles Perryman, chair 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
With April 2012 fast approaching, some in the industry think that there is no way it could be launched any earlier than October 2012, while others say it MUST go live before the Olympics. That said, we reported on Friday that UK special forces have added another N3 Dauphin last week and that may have been precipitated by the four-yearly sporting event arriving in the UK this summer.
The South Yorkshire Police fly an MD Explorer and fly approx 1,000 hours a year in it.
Jeremy Parkin - HeliHub.com
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