Wales

Dyfed-Powys Police to hand helicopter cover to NPAS

Police helicopter Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Pembrey in Carmarthenshire will temporarily remain an NPAS operating base

The police helicopter in mid and south west Wales is to be scrapped and the service handed to a national operator.

Dyfed-Powys Police's commissioner said it would mean 24-hour air cover.

But Plaid Cymru said the party was "dismayed" the force's dedicated helicopter would be lost.

Dyfed-Powys's helicopter operates for about 12 hours a day. Under new arrangements the force will operate several National Police Air Service helicopters and in time, aeroplanes.

Pembrey in Carmarthenshire will temporarily remain an NPAS operating base to support the service, although helicopters will not be based there.

The new arrangements will cost £890,000 a year from January - about £275,000 less than in 2014-15. The changes come as the local service transfers from forces in Wales and England to NPAS.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon said the deal represented "many hours of detailed negotiations".

He said: "I believe the agreement strikes a sensible compromise between service, cost and endurance over the entire force area.

"The unique nature of Dyfed-Powys, a huge, largely rural area, brings particular challenges. It was crucial that we took the time to get the right deal."

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