Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°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

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • a waist of money no it fights crime not like as is our crime commissioner now that's a waist of money

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

  • Trouble with drones is that they don't make as much noise and would be cheaper. On the downside ...... Oh, there isn't a downside

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Friday, June 20, 2014

  • Why not use the wonderful facilities at Rendlesham and save a bob or two... no-one will mind. In fact lots of people really miss the sound of aircraft there and want to bring back tiger moths and spitfires and jets that go whoossh

    Report this comment

    Citizen

    Friday, June 20, 2014

  • I like the idea of having the helicopter to catch criminals but what's the point when the courts are such a joke. Why not just buy half the amount of hours like Norfolk?

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Friday, June 20, 2014

  • Instead of droning on and boring us, why dont you use a drone? I know the boys must enjoy their toys, but a drone would be a fraction of the price.

    Report this comment

    trevorwoolnough

    Friday, June 20, 2014

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

A double lightining strike has hit and destroyed a house. Darren Hobson surveys the damage. Picture: Stephen Huntley.

A hero father-of-six who led his family to safety following a lightning strike to his home has praised his neighbours’ support.

Stuart Cullen, from the Lowestoft area, who died in the terrorist attack in Tunisia.

The family of a man who died in the Tunisian massacre have paid tribute to their “third musketeer”.

Danny and Lydia Mehmed

More than 30 friends and family are putting their best foot forward for a sponsored run in memory of a devoted friend, mother and wife who died after a year-long battle with a brain tumour.

Joy Poppy, aged 82, who died following a collision in Woodbridge on July 1

Mrs Poppy died after a collision in New Street, Woodbridge, on Wednesday.

Libby Brown headteacher at Kyson Primary, Woodbridge.

A board of school governors has launched a fierce attack on Suffolk County Council after their headteacher had to stop work for seven weeks.

BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy with one of the Scamnesty bids

A Suffolk Trading Standards Scamnesty campaign is using special bins across the county in a bid to snare unscrupulous conmen.

Cedar House, Pytches Road, Melton - set to have ten new homes in its grounds.

Developers who have bought a prime site on the edge of Woodbridge from the district council expect to submit proposals to create new homes next month.

Beach patrol rescue spaniels from Clacton beach.
Owner and her dogs.

A beach patrol team at Clacton swung into action to rescue two dogs yesterday evening.

Police in Ipswich are investigating a number of incidents where eggs were thrown at people and buildings in the town.

Culford Girls under 18 Hockey Team January 1990

Were you a member of the Culford girls under 18 hockey team in January 1990. Were you in the squad photographed here?

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages