Police helicopter to be scrapped

Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
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The Suffolk Police helicopter base in Wattisham is set to close as part of cost-cutting measures, leaving the county without a base.

The National Police Air Service has confirmed it is to close 10 helicopter bases across the country, with Wattisham to close by 2017.

Once gone, the closest base for Suffolk residents will be Boreham, near Chelmsford, with fears the level of service received in the county could be reduced.

Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, accountable manager for the National Police Air Service, said: “NPAS needs to find further substantial financial savings, with a target of 14 per cent of revenue cuts over the next three years. This is on top of the 23 per cent of savings already made.

“Local police forces facing similar savings are looking at how they rationalise their estate and ways of operating – and NPAS is no different in this regard.

“There is no easy way of doing this and difficult decisions have to be made.”

As part of the changes, four fixed-wing aircraft, which are cheaper to fly, will form part of a revised fleet, which will be based at East Midlands Airport.