25-Sep-2011 Source: HeliHub.com
In a move which could destabilise the plans to coordinate airborne law enforcement in the UK, South Yorkshire Police has this week opted out of the National Police Air Support (NPAS) plans.Â With every police force thought to have signed up for NPAS, some rather reluctantly it has to be said, very few in the helicopter industry realised that forces had an opt-out option.
Under the NPAS plans, South Yorkshire were grouped with West Yorkshire, North Midlands and Humberside air units.Â The strategy called for each group to work as one geographical area, with one or two helicopters less than at present.Â Initially South Yorkshire Police had accepted the plans, and only three weeks ago we announced on HeliHub.com that they would be forfeiting their MD Explorer as part of the deal.
But South Yorkshire said â€œNoâ€.Â The South Yorkshire Police Authority â€“ the independent body to whom the force reports â€“ looked at the options and decided that the NPAS plans could not meet their law enforcement response-time requirements.Â While the top line figures would have seen approx Â£668,000 savings per year, they would have also been required to contribute Â£400,000 a year to a replacement aircraft fund â€“ so the savings were minimal in the big scheme of things.
While most police forces in England and Wales are reasonably happy with the NPAS plans, the very fact that one force has made the move away from NPAS will get others looking at their options.
Jeremy Parkin â€“ HeliHub.com