Norfolk

Norfolk Police to lose force helicopter in spending cut

Norfolk Police is to lose its own dedicated helicopter at the end of March, saving £750,000 a year.

It wants to share Suffolk Police's aircraft based at Wattisham Airfield instead of leasing its own from Sterling Aviation at Norwich Airport.

The move is part of £25m cuts agreed by the Norfolk Police Authority.

Norfolk Police will buy in 220 hours of flying time from Suffolk's helicopter, 60 hours fewer than its contract this year.

Suffolk Police Authority has yet to agree the plan.

Norfolk's Chief Constable Phil Gormley said: "We are collaborating, sharing, buying time from Suffolk's helicopter.

'Value for money'

"Theirs is a state-of-the-art machine and ours was a bit time expired.

"We'll actually get good value for money and a better operational capability over the next 12 months."

All county police helicopters will be disbanded in 14 months time to be replaced by a National Police Air Service.

Currently there are 33 aircraft at 30 different bases. These all belong to individual forces.

The National Police Air Service will have 23 aircraft at 20 bases.

This will save £15m from the current total of £66m.

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