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Police helicopter cutbacks could leave Preston seen as a safer place for criminals to operate

Posted on - 10th May, 2015 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Lancashire Police, News
NPAS Warton before they set off

The sun could be setting on police helicopter services operating from Warton

Cutbacks to the police helicopter coverage in Preston and Lancashire has seen councillors request their chief executive write to the Home Secretary to review the closure of air bases.

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Preston is currently covered by the National Police Air Service from Warton and Barton – but a 23 per cent budget cut to the service will see Barton remain as the nearest while Warton closes.

Ribbleton councillor Brian Rollo raised a motion at April’s council meeting calling for Lorraine Norris, the chief exec of the city council, to write to the Home Secretary, Preston MPs and the Police and Crime Commissione for Lancashire Clive Grunshaw about concerns about the closure of Warton.

Cllr Rollo said in a motion which was backed by full council: “This will result in a sparse air policing service for the first time in over two decades and a greatly diminished loiter time for aircraft when they are deployed. That the effect on policing in Lancashire will be catastrophic.

“That additionally criminals from the areas of Greater Manchester Police and Merseyside Police forces will see Lancashire as a safer area to operate in and will transfer more of their activities up the motorways to Lancashire.”

The police helicopter at Warton can currently be scrambled to be anywhere in Lancashire within 15 minutes. Relying on Barton or potentially Hawsden in Cheshire or Wakefield in Yorkshire leaves Preston and surrounding areas with a 20 minute or more flying time.

Currently Warton is due to be closed sometime between April 2016 and April 2017.

What do you think about the proposed cut back to Warton? Do you agree with Cllr Rollo’s concerns? Let us know in the comments below

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