I READ with dread that the Government are to privatise the RAF and Royal Navy search and rescue services.

These men are so highly trained and, yes, the Sea King helicopters are getting past it. But to privatise these services is, in my mind, absolutely ridiculous.

Firstly the pilots and crew are to be offered jobs with this American company. This means the loss of highly experienced pilots, navigators and winch men and medical trained crew. Utter stupidity!

Why is it the Ministry of Defence is unable through normal planning and procurement to just phase out the Sea King and replace with new helicopters through the normal channels, as and when the Sea Kings air worthiness becomes a problem?

It’s amazing what we have been told. It is a £1.6bn deal and we will be getting 22 brand new Sikorsky S-92 helicopters operating out of 10 locations around the UK.

The air crews have to learn all the problematic locations, terrain and the weather conditions that those locations can throw up.

Then there are the working relationships the military SAR crews have with the coastguard, RNLI and mountain rescue.

The new business will have to take on board all this knowledge that the military have built up over the years working with such organisations.

We have been told these details but what we haven’t been told up to now is how this privatised business is going to earn its money to build up its profits.

Private companies like a large profit margin, so where is this going to come from?

I have a distinct feeling that people are going to have to pay for these treasured services that our military personnel and volunteer organisations have been giving us all these years.

I have always said these rescues should be paid for if it is found that people were out on the hills ill equipped or a boat the RNLI have to rescue is not seaworthy or the crew lack navigational knowledge.

These people should be fined and that money goes into the volunteer organisations pot. But privatisation is a totally different monster.

In my view, they are out to make large sums of money through rescuing people.

I think this is an ill-judged move by this Government and I certainly hope many MPs will rise up and fight against this travesty.

This may just come back to bite them. I certainly hope for yet another U-turn by this Government.

Keith Bagot


Could you credit it?

REGARDING the announcement (Examiner, March 27) that an American based firm is to take over the military’s helicopter rescue service.

Can we assume that, in future, casualties will have to produce their credit card before being winched up off a mountain?

Dave Whitworth


It’s a relief

I’M pleased that Mirfield Town Council has taken my advice by putting money aside to keep Mirfield’s public toilets open.

Let us hope this is a temporary arrangement.

When the Tory Government cuts to Kirklees Council’s budget no longer apply we know the council will do their very best to restore many of the services removed under pressure from the government.

Restoration by Kirklees will relieve the expense now falling solely on Mirfield Town Council by spreading the cost across the whole of Kirklees and by taking advantage of government grants to Kirklees.

Town Councils receive no government grant but the action taken to keep the toilets open was justified because of their impending closure.

Sarah J Cook

(Campaign Co-ordinator, Mirfield Labour Party)

Fans deterred

CONGRATULATIONS to senior officers within West Yorkshire police for turning a potential 18,000 turnout to just short of 12,000 between two Yorkshire teams at the John Smiths Stadium in Huddersfield on Saturday evening into a none event which both teams unfortunately contributed towards.

The attendance included a little over 400 Hull visitors (10% of the initial anticipated number) as a result of fans boycotting the fixture due to the draconian measures set by the force to restrict ticket numbers to 1,700 as a result of ‘intelligence received’ of potential disorder.

It would be interesting to know if the mass of officers with and without vehicles deployed in the town centre to police the joint Town/Hull fans march (not to mention Hartshead Moor Services) would have been more than those deployed at the stadium had the fixture not been tampered with?

What about the overtime for the whole exercise?

If I was a Huddersfield Town official I would be seeking advice from my legal team with a view to taking action against West Yorkshire police for loss of income for a potential lucrative encounter.

Also their shabby assumption that they were classing both sets of supporters as criminals as the joint banner displayed at the match intimated.

I think the officers in charge now realise they have made a judgement error in deterring the vast majority of Hull fans and many from Huddersfield from attending the fixture.

What happens if Town eventually reached the Premiership? (maybe not this season).

C Thomas


A lesson in reality?

THE Ofsted Report (following inspection on December 18 and 19 2012) on Colne Valley Arts College isn’t as clear as it ought to be.

For instance, there’s a demand that lessons should cater for individuals – and for teachers to check understanding more thoroughly by asking questions requiring more than a one-word answer.

Right, we’ll follow this classic Ofsted theory into a 60-minute lesson with 30 pupils.

During the course of the lesson, Joe the teacher asks 20 pupils fairly substantial questions, let’s say, two minutes for each question and its response.

That’s more than half the lesson gone – and teacher Joe still has to deliver the same material in different ways to suit the variety of pupils in the class, according to previous test scores and (hopefully precise comments on the “learning needs” of 30 pupils) stapled to Joe’s lesson plan.

Another issue is Ofsted’s comment about pupils from minority ethnic heritages who “often do better than the white British majority.”

How is this possible? If they are not from a White British heritage how are they able to cope with alien material and poorly planned lessons?

Why don’t they do even worse than other groups?

Can it be that their parents explicitly encourage them to learn, work hard, and not expect life to be a bowl of cherries?