South Yorkshire Police to keep force helicopter

South Yorkshire Police helicopter South Yorkshire Police's helicopter will be available for use for 10 hours a day during peak times

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Plans for South Yorkshire Police to keep its own helicopter for use during peak times have been approved.

The force will use the National Police Air Service (NPAS) for Wakefield, North Derbyshire and Humberside outside of peak hours.

Last year it was announced that NPAS would be introduced, meaning regional forces shared helicopters.

A South Yorkshire Police Authority spokesperson said the local service was critical to maintaining response times.

The South Yorkshire police helicopter was introduced in 1997 and flies about 1,200 hours a year at a cost of £1.68m.

Under the new plans, the force's helicopter would be available for use for 10 hours a day.

Sean Wright, deputy chairman for the authority said: "We've done an analysis of when the helicopter flies and we've identified peak deployment periods.

"We'll be looking at how we can best maintain response times to deliver a police air support service at peak periods."

The government said the introduction of the national service would see the number of police air units across England and Wales cut from 32 to 22.

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