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Lancashire Police helicopter base to close

Lancashire Police Helicopter Photo: ITV Granada

Concerns have been raised over plans to close Lancashire's police helicopter base.

The site at Warton is earmarked to close next year yet the helicopter could stop flying from the base before that.

Air cover would be provided from Barton in Greater Manchester and Hawarden in Flintshire, North Wales.

Lancashire Police Helicopter Credit: ITV Granada

Rachel Baines, Chair of Lancashire Police Federation said:

The closure of Warton will have devastating effects on the communities of Lancashire"

"Our genuine fear is that this will put police officer safety in jeopardy, along with the safety of our communities. The air support provides a service to officers on the ground that cannot be replicated.

"The closure of Warton will have devastating effects on the communities of Lancashire, particularly the North of the County who will see little or no air support.

"During the Christmas floods, the service provided by air support was invaluable.

"The decision to close Warton is flawed and will only serve to further erode Policing in Lancashire."

– Rachel Baines, Chair of Lancashire Police Federation

Chief Superintendent Tyron Joyce, Chief Operating Officer for the National Police Air Service said:

The closure of NPAS Warton in April 2017 is part of a national programme of planned activity to ensure that essential air support remains in place to support the police forces of England and Wales at a significantly reduced cost to the public.

“The decision to close NPAS Warton was made based on an impact assessment of the ability of the National Police Air Service to provide air support to police forces in line with areas of the greatest threat, harm and risk to the public.

“Whilst NPAS Warton will remain open until April 2017, it is possible that some of the services they currently provide will be delivered by other local NPAS bases sooner than that in order to most effectively manage the closure process.

“Alongside this closure, more NPAS bases are operating 24 hours. NPAS Barton and NPAS Hawarden along with others across the rest of England and Wales already provide a service 24/7.

“The National Police Air Service (NPAS) is a unique national collaboration across England and Wales providing a truly borderless service.

“Police forces in need of air support contact the NPAS Operations Centre and receive support from the nearest available aircraft at the time.

“NPAS currently provides this support from 17 bases across England and Wales. Through this network, NPAS are normally able to reach 98% of the population of England and Wales within 20 minutes.

“By April 2017, NPAS will be operating from 15 24/7 bases across England and Wales and with this provision, will continue to protect local communities from threat, harm and risk as effectively and in line with local police and crime plans.“

– Chief Superintendent Tyron Joyce, Chief Operating Officer for the National Police Air Service