Hopes have been raised that the Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter, which had been due to be replaced by a plane next year, could be retained.

It follows discussions between local MP Stephen Crabb and Police Minister Damian Green ahead of the introduction of the National Police Air Service (NPAS).

The original proposals had raised concerns over future search and rescue operations in the force area, geographically the largest in England and Wales.

Mr Green, the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, said: “The project team has been working closely with the force in looking at a number of options for the future delivery of air support to Dyfed-Powys by NPAS beyond 2014, including the retention of a helicopter at Pembrey [the Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter base].”

Mr Crabb said: “This is a positive step forward. It shows that the representations that we have been making about the need to keep a police helicopter operating across Dyfed Powys are being heard. It is encouraging to see that the option of keeping the helicopter is back on the table for further consideration.”

“I fully support the Government’s National Police Air Service and the savings that will be made as a result but I am aware that given the nature of the geography and rural terrain that we have in this large force area, a helicopter could be more effective than a fixed wing aircraft.”