WEST Yorkshire is set to retain its police helicopter – despite national cutbacks.
The force aircraft will continue to operate from a base near Wakefield, serving the county, but will also have to serve a wider region.
Police forces must work together to bring in a national air service that will save £15m a year, the Policing Minister will say today.
Nick Herbert will say powers to order forces to collaborate with each other will be used for the first time to replace each force’s own helicopter.
Under the plans, the number of police helicopters and air bases will be slashed by a third across England and Wales, from 33 down to 22.
But Mr Herbert will say the National Police Air Service (NPAS) will provide forces with access to helicopters 24 hours a day, 365 days year, rather than a force’s helicopter being out of use for weeks for repairs.
“Chief officers of all forces in England and Wales have given their support to the proposal, as have the overwhelming majority of police authorities in principle.
“But to get the full benefits, the commitment of the whole of the police service in England and Wales is needed.”