‘Eye in sky’ HQ will be wound down this year

Police helicopter

Police helicopter

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Lancashire’s Police helicopter base will be wound down from this autumn ahead of closure in April next year.

The National Police Air Service revealed this week that the Warton base will be shut as part of a cost saving 
drive.

And, in response to concerns raised by Gazette readers, the service today revealed operations would be gradually moved away from the Fylde coast.

A spokesman for NPAS said: “We plan to remain open at NPAS Warton until April 2017. In order to manage the closure process, we may move some service provision from the base in advance of that date.

“We are already for example, operating on a reduced number of operating hours from the base and have been doing so for some months.”

Following this week’s announcement concerns were raised over increased police helicopter response times to the Fylde coast.

Police unions and community groups are also worried Blackpool and the Fylde coast will find themselves fighting with the cities of Liverpool and Manchester for use of the ‘eye in the sky’.

Those claims were rejected by NPAS bosses who insist the highest priority cases will take precedence, no matter what the location.

Chief Superintendent Tyron Joyce, Chief Operating Officer for the National Police Air Service said:“The reduction in bases does not mean that our ability to respond to priority calls for service is diminished.

“Through our National Control Centre, we provide a truly borderless service by deploying the nearest available aircraft. We also move aircraft and crew around the country in support of the areas of greatest need.”

When Warton closes police air cover on the Fylde coast will be provided from bases in Manchester and Cheshire.