Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Police spend £1m a year on helicopter but spend is below budget

09:00 28 December 2012

Police helicopter

Police helicopter

Archant

KEEPING the police helicopter flying over Suffolk costs the taxpayer more than £1million each year, we can reveal.

shares

According to figures released by Suffolk Constabulary, the helicopter has taken a £3.53m bite out of the force’s budget over the past three years.

Police bosses, who say the aircraft plays a valuable role, said they work on the basis that each hour in the helicopter costs about £1,750.

The figures, which cover the cost of the premises, fuel, maintenance and staffing, were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

They also reveal that from January this year to October, the police helicopter flew 822 hours, with the longest flight being the search for a missing person.

In 2011 the helicopter flew for 696 hours, down slightly on the 735 hours flown in 2010.

Since April 2011, the helicopter has provided air support to Norfolk and since April 2012 has also covered Cambridgeshire and north Essex. A spokesman said that although flying times this year have been “noticeably higher”, money has been saved because of the closure of helicopter bases in Norwich and Wyten.

He added: “The fixed costs of keeping a helicopter are a significant proportion of the annual costs, therefore the more use it gets, the less each flying hour costs.”

The actual length of the longest flights, which included “monitoring public order at a march”, were not released to protect details of the aircraft’s “tactical flight range”.

A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, who said the force had seen an overall reduction in expenditure last year, due to Norfolk Police buying into the services, said the spend on the helicopter was £44,000 under budget in 2011-12.

In 2010-11, the cost of the helicopter was £81,000 under budget. Suffolk was one of the first forces to join the national scheme for air support and added that by the end of January 2015, helicopters would only be flying from 20 strategic bases throughout the country.

shares

2 comments

  • just have to say that i believe the picture to be of the East Anglian Air Ambulance not the suffolk police helicopter sorry just saying lol

    Report this comment

    Martin Bignell

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • Since day one with the introduction of the Suffolk police helicopter various folk have centred, quite rightly, on the costs involved. But what a great reassurance it is to us people in the countryside! And what a deterrent to wouldbe miscreants who might otherwise regard rural Suffolk as an easy target for their efforts. Suffolk is variously regarded as a wonderful, quiet place - or a rural backwater - let's make sure the powers that be don't take us back in time and rob us of our airborne coppers!

    Report this comment

    Roberta

    Friday, December 28, 2012

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

Ipswich Crown Court

A 19-year old man who met up with a 13-year-old girl and exchanged text messages with her despite being given a police caution for kissing her several months earlier has been sentenced to 21 months youth detention.

The vandals tore through Bury St Edmunds

A drunken “night of madness” saw vandals rack up over £5,000 of damage to cars, pubs and property as they roamed the streets of Bury St Edmunds.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral overlooking colourful displays in the Abbey Gardens

Suffolk’s most important religious building has been awarded a £300,000 Government grant to pay for urgent roof repairs.

Josephine Murphy

An 86-year-old woman who had gone missing from Clacton has been found safe and well

Aftermath of a barn fire in Holton.

A television antiques expert has appealed for help rebuilding his eco-friendly arts centre in Suffolk after a major blaze destroyed the historic sawmill that was to be its showroom and workshops.

Tim Yeo

An outgoing Suffolk MP has denied reports he stands to make more than £500,000 from the sale of his second home, which was part-subsidised by the taxpayer – saying he plans to keep the London property.

Stansted Airport

Aircraft pilots were targeted with lasers around Stansted Airport 45 times last year.

Darsham Nurseries head chef Lola DeMille and chef Tom Eagle in the cafe where they are donating money from one of the dishes to the World Land Trust.

An international conservation charity based in Suffolk is one of three organisations to benefit from a new campaign raising awareness about the impact of meat production on health, welfare and the environment.

Suffolk County Council's base at Endeavour House

Up to 23 jobs could go in a major shake-up of Suffolk County Council’s education services.

Latitude Festival, at the Henham Estate near Southwold

Suffolk poet Luke Wright has seen the Latitude festival grow from a modest boutique gathering in 2006 to one of Britain’s biggest music and arts events.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages