Cambridgeshire’s police helicopter grounded in bid to save �500,000
CAMBRIDGESHIRE’S police helicopter has been axed as the cash-strapped force seek to save �500,000 from their dwindling budgets.
Cambridgeshire Police Authority approved proposals to ground the �3.9 million chopper at a meeting on Wednesday - opting to join with Chiltern Air Support Unit to cover the region’s skies.
The air support unit - which has helicopters based at RAF Henlow and RAF Benson in Oxford - could answer up to 60 per cent of Cambridgeshire’s air calls.
It will be backed up by existing arrangements with Suffolk and Essex police forces, in a move which will save around �500,000 and provide 500 flying hours at a reduced cost per flight hour.
Chairman of Cambridgeshire Police Authority Ruth Rogers said: “We are committed to supporting the constabulary in providing the most cost-effective air support service for the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
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“We have to be realistic that with shrinking resources we must think collaboratively to save money all round.”
Life-saving charity Magpas, who use the police helicopter, have already declared that they have a “plan in place” to cope with its withdrawal.
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Daryl Brown, Magpas’ chief executive, said: “Magpas would like to reassure the public that we will continue saving lives night and day.”
Mark Hopkins, the force’s assistant chief constable, said: “We are confident that the move will provide a borderless air support service, which can be called upon 24/7 and result in more efficient tasking across the region and greater resilience.”