MEMBERS of the public have taken to the internet to criticise the Government’s decision to take the police helicopter out of South Yorkshire.
More than 50 people expressed their support for the force chopper during an online web chat with South Yorkshire Police Authority.
This was part of a discussion on the introduction of a National Police Air Support (NPAS) service, which will replace the existing helicopter based in Sheffield.
The move has been pushed by the Government as part of spending cuts. The national service will see 23 aircraft operating from 20 bases around the country.
The nearest helicopters for South Yorkshire will be located in Derbyshire, Humberside and West Yorkshire.
Around 100 questions and comments were received by the Police Authority, as well as increased comments through social media platform Twitter and visits to their website.
Charles Perryman, chair of South Yorkshire Police Authority said: “The live debate was an overwhelming success. The issue of NPAS has generated huge interest amongst members of the public and as an Authority we need to listen to those views.
“The majority of comments were in favour of keeping the helicopter. The public seem as unconvinced with the NPAS proposals as members of the Police Authority are.
“We saw a large amount of praise for the current air support, with the public concerned that NPAS will not only affect response times to South Yorkshire, but that the savings from the change are not significant enough to justify removing the current helicopter.”
Members of South Yorkshire Police Authority will discuss the findings of the consultation and the latest developments on NPAS at a meeting on Friday, February 17, in Barnsley.