13-May-2014 Source: D&CC
Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon Air Ambulance Trust have this week relocated helicopter operations to a new shared airbase at Exeter Airport.
The two aircraft have been moved from the former site at Police Headquarters, Middlemoor, following the sale of land for development.
The helicopters will be housed at a secure location at the nearby airport which features a dedicated landing pad, hangar and purpose-built flight operations offices for both teams.
There will be no change in service from either helicopter, and they will be under visual direction from Air Traffic Control when lifting or landing as well as being at a location which benefits from enhanced security and aircraft services.
The police helicopter, owned and co-ordinated by the National Police Air Service (NPAS) in West Yorkshire, is used to support ground units and supplement conventional police tactics.
It is frequently deployed to live incidents including the location and rescue of missing people, thefts from homes and vehicles, the tracking of suspects and can be used to provide aerial imagery and downlink of live time pictures for major incidents and backup to colleagues on the ground in large-scale public order incidents.
Ch Supt Jim Nye said: “Devon and Cornwall Police and Exeter Airport were involved in discussions for the last two years around the Force leasing land at the airport in order to relocate the police helicopter and Devon Air Ambulance from Police Headquarters at Middlemoor.
“As a result of these discussions the airport identified a piece of land as being ideal for the police to develop a joint air support facility.”
“The public should not notice any difference in the excellent service that the unit already provides. Operating hours and response times will not change.”
Ian Payne, Flight Operations Director for Devon Air Ambulance Trust, said: “To work in partnership and share resources with the police is a win-win situation for all parties. We have worked successfully at a joint base for more than five years now and have achieved economies, not only in terms of infrastructure, but have also taken opportunities to share pilots and training resources.”