Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Police helicopter deal a ‘terrible waste of money’

08:40 20 June 2014

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore

Archant

The value of retaining a police helicopter for Suffolk has been brought into question after it was revealed that the constabulary is paying double the rate it actual uses the service.

shares

In the last year, Suffolk Constabulary paid £800,000 for air support to the National Police Air Service (NPAS), but the force helicopter flew half its allocated flying hours.

Suffolk’s police crime commissioner, Tim Passmore, called the current arrangement a “terrible waste of money” and insisted the constabulary push for a change in the way costs are contributed to the national service, which has provided centralised air support since 2012, before which forces operated their own helicopters.

At a meeting of Suffolk’s accountability and performance panel, at police HQ in Martlesham Heath this week, assistant chief officer Phillip Clayton said the past year had been largely positive for the budget, with more savings delivered than required.

But Mr Clayton admitted that any areas of concern would need to be addressed in order to continue in the same vein.

Mr Clayton called the current sir support contract “inequitable” and said he would strongly support pushing for a change in the way costs are contributed towards managing the service provided by the NPAS.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to pay for something on an equitable basis if it’s done nationally,” he said.

The NPAS was brought in with the aim of cutting £15m from police budgets.

All forces were asked to contribute towards the costs of managing the service, with flight hours allocated to each force based on historic use of their helicopter with their provider at the time.

Suffolk was consequently allocated 600 hours - an amount that, over the last two years, has proved to be more than required.

Mr Passmore said: “It is essential to have air support for certain operations, but it comes at a cost that we are not in a position to afford.

“I’m not prepared to use Suffolk taxpayers’ money like that - full stop.

“It’s a terrible waste of money and I’m not prepared to put up with it.”

Norfolk and Suffolk paid a combined total of £1.16m between April 2013 and April 2014.

Suffolk contributed £800,000 and was budgeted for 600 hours of air support compared to Norfolk’s 220 hours, despite being the smaller force.

By March this year, Suffolk had used just over half its allocation but had been able transfer a portion of its hours to Norfolk, retrieving £39,000 and taking down its annual contribution to £761,000 compared to Norfolk’s £399,000.

shares

6 comments

  • Unless there was another reason why it was sent up..??perhaps money could be saved by not using a very expensive tool to ' look ' for shop lifters.

    Report this comment

    waspie

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The White Horse pub in Sudbury is selling Zebra, Camel and Bison at its special steak night

While squirrel has been popping up on the menu of adventurous restaurants across Suffolk in recent months, it appears that the people of Sudbury have even more exotic tastes.

Sam Smith

Tickets for Sam Smith’s highly-anticipated show at Thetford Forest sold out in less than three quarters of an hour today.

The MSC Oscar en route in the North Sea to its next port of call.

Hundreds of ship-spotters are expected to line the shore as the Port of Felixstowe welcomes the world’s largest container ship on Monday – just two months after the last holder of the title sailed into the harbour.

Tawny owl

Two men who were suspected by police of being responsible for the illegal trapping and killing of a tawny owl in west Suffolk will not be charged.

The Causeway in Hitcham

Hundreds of pounds in cash and jewellery were stolen from a home in Hitcham.

Temporary chief constable Gareth Wilson and police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore

Suffolk Constabulary is pledging to support a national campaign aimed at promoting trust, integration and cohesion within communities.

Mariusz Kuliga, 21, wanted by the Met as part of Operation Sunfire 4

A man wanted by Polish authorities in connection with five armed robberies could be in Essex.

Staff at work in the control room at Sizewell A - it has now been closed down after 50 years of operation.

For the first time in half a century, the main control room at a Suffolk nuclear power station which has generated enough electricity to boil a trillion kettles has fallen silent.

GV - Ipswich Crown Court

A 74-year-old Suffolk man has been cleared of seven child sex offences by a jury which failed to reach verdicts on seven other charges.

The scene of a one car collision with a tree on Ashbocking Road near Henley.

Police have found a man who had gone missing after a road traffic collision between a car and a tree in Ashbocking Road, Henley on Thursday night.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages