South Yorkshire force helicopter joins police air service
South Yorkshire's police helicopter has become the latest member of the new National Police Air Service (NPAS).
The service, which replaces localised police helicopter operations in England and Wales, was launched in October.
As a member of NPAS, the force's helicopter will provide cover across the county for 10 peak hours a day.
During the remaining 14 hours, the county will be served by aircraft from neighbouring NPAS bases in West Yorkshire, Humberside and Derbyshire.'Crime-fighting tool'
The South Yorkshire force's helicopter was originally meant to be scrapped as part of the introduction of NPAS.
However, the force was allowed to keep it for use during peak times after criticism from the now disbanded South Yorkshire Police Authority.
The authority had said while it was not opposed to NPAS being introduced, it had concerns about the impact on response times in South Yorkshire.
The new arrangement would see the county receive a more "robust" service, said South Yorkshire Police.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright said: "We have fought to maintain air support based in South Yorkshire.
"I believe air support is a critical crime-fighting tool and will do my best to ensure it continues to deliver for the community of South Yorkshire."
Consisting of 25 helicopters at 23 bases, NPAS is nationally expected to save £15m a year.