16-Apr-2012 Source: South Yorkshire Police Authority
South Yorkshire Police Authority has reached agreement with the National Police Air Service (NPAS) to retain a helicopter based in Sheffield.
The Authority had raised concerns that the initial NPAS proposals, announced last year, did not provide sufficient cover for South Yorkshire.
Following negotiations with NPAS, the Authority has agreed in principle to join the national scheme on the basis that the coverage will be divided between a Sheffield-based aircraft and the NPAS.
The Sheffield based aircraft will be available on a ten-hour shift for seven days a week, while the county will also have access to the national service operating on a 24/7 coverage from their NPAS bases outside South Yorkshire.
The solution now offered by NPAS will not incur any additional costs compared with the current South Yorkshire Police helicopter service.
Charles Perryman, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Authority, said: â€œA 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.
â€œWe 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.
â€œThe original proposals were unacceptable and if the Police Authority had not challenged the national plans we wouldnâ€™t be getting this improved resilience which is a massive improvement.
â€œNPAS 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.
â€œThe proposed structure has been arrived at following extensive research and negotiations between South Yorkshire Police, Police Authority and NPAS since last September.â€