Police lobby to save chopper
11:11am Monday 30th July 2012 in News
DYFED-POWYS Police Authority is lobbying MPs to keep the Dyfed- Powys Police helicopter instead of replacing it with a fixed wing aircraft.
Under the National Police Air Service (NPAS) proposals, the current structure where police forces operate their own helicopters would be replaced by national air support provided from fewer bases.
The authority believes a helicopter is more appropriate than a fixed wing aircraft because of the size of the Dyfed-Powys force area.
It covers coastline, substantial mountainous terrain and many remote and rural communities.
While a fixed wing aircraft would be cheaper to operate than the helicopter and would give greater flight time and the capability to carry out thermal imaging, video cameras and to downlink, it also has drawbacks.
For example, a plane cannot land at a scene to arrest a person, locate a missing person or deal with a casualty; hover when giving top cover or support to an operation on the ground and cannot transport specialist officers such as firearms, dogs and negotiators.
The chief executive and chief financial officer of the Police Authority along with authority members met with several MPs from the Dyfed Powys area in Westminster on Monday, July 16 to outline their case for keeping the helicopter.
Among the MPs was south county representative Simon Hart, who agreed to write to the Minister for Policing, Nick Herbert, supporting the Authority’s position.
Chairman of Dyfed Powys Police Authority, Gwyn Hopkins, said: “The authority considers that insufficient consideration has been given to the particular requirements for a helicopter in Dyfed-Powys and we are urging the government that the current proposals be reviewed as a matter or urgency.
“Dyfed Powys has substantial expanses of coastline and mountains where the availability of a helicopter to hover and land is crucial. The fixed wing cannot do this. The authority is doing what it can but the public may wish to direct any concerns they have on this issue to their MPs.”
For more information about Dyfed-Powys Police Authority, visit the Authority website: www.dyfedpowyspoliceauthority.
co.uk or tel: 01267 226440.
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