‘We’ll use drones to cover for helicopter’

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

Using remote control drones instead of helicopters could be a way of saving Suffolk Police money, their commissioner has said.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore raised the idea at a Suffolk County Council meeting last week in a bid to cut the force’s £800,000 annual bill to the National Police Air Service for air support.

Mr Passmore also fears that when the NPAS moves its helicopter from Wattisham to Essex in two years, it will mean extra flight time for operational work in Suffolk and possibly extra cost.

He said: “The amount we are being asked to pay NPAS is unacceptable. As the primary budget holder, we must have a far better deal for Suffolk.

“Whether that is with fixed-wing aircraft, using a drone for some surveillance work - or boosting the dog unit to help with searches. The status quo cannot continue.”