DERBYSHIRE Constabulary is not expected to change its localised police helicopter support system for another year despite plans for the introduction of a new National Police Air Service.
The national service of 25 helicopters at 23 bases, due to start from October 1, is expected to save £15m a year with seven bases closing.
Derbyshire police uses a North Midlands support unit which covers Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and this is expected to continue until this time next year.
John Jameson, Unit Executive Officer for the North Midlands Helicopter Support Unit, said: “The new National Police Air Service will result in huge savings and also an improved service for the people of Derbyshire.”
The Association of Chief Police Officers is hoping for 20 minute response times for 98per cent of the population with the new national system but some police fear the service will be stretched with slower responses endangering lives.
Policing Minister Damian Green argued response times would not increase and lives would not be put at risk claiming there will be “more helicopters available more of the time”.
Supt Richard Watson, of the National Police Air Service, said that while there were fewer aircraft they would be flying the same hours. Some police, including Derbyshire, indicated that more rural areas on county borders may benefit from a national system with shared services.
Mr Jameson added: “There will be more helicopters available more of the time and with borderless deployment the nearest aircraft will be sent to an incident which will benefit our rural areas greatly.”