Latest Public Sector News

01.10.12

New national police air service launched

Recent cut-backs in police aviation funding have seen the start of a national helicopter initiative that is to replace the current local helicopter scheme.

The 25 helicopters are to fly from 23 bases and some will not operate on a 24 hour basis. The new operation is thought to save up to £15m as seven bases are to be closed.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) claim that they are hopeful 20 minute response targets for 98% of the population will still be reached.

Helicopters are used by police to track criminals, monitor major incidents and locate missing people. It is estimated that the national service will cut the cost of running air support from about £63m to £48m a year.

Policing minister Damian Green said that: “Crime or the need to search doesn't stop at county boundaries. It is actually the deployment and the speed of deployment that makes a difference.”

Hampshire police chief constable Alex Marshall said that the old system had, “artificial boundaries [which] have meant that helicopters are restricted to operating within their own force area or consortia.

“A truly national, borderless service will ensure effective coverage of urban and rural areas.”

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