Police helicopter makes final flight
6:00am 20th March 2017
Despite a massive campaign to save it, the police helicopter base at Warton has closed.
The chopper will made its final flight over the weekend, but the base officially closes next month.
The base has operated for 23 years.
Crews help with a range of issues from locating missing people, to searching for suspects.
From now on, Lancashire Police will have to rely on cover from other forces if they need a helicopter.
Goodnight & thank you! pic.twitter.com/y6TCwL8jAD— NPAS Warton (@NPAS_Warton) March 19, 2017
Engines are hot and G-LASU turning and burning for what could have been this team's last tasking 04:00 (but there's time yet, we never know) pic.twitter.com/tXIIl2o5MU— NPAS Warton (@NPAS_Warton) March 19, 2017
Chief Superintendent Tyron Joyce, Chief Operating Officer for the National Police Air Service said:
"A three year plan to close nine bases was implemented in 2014. This included the imminent closures of NPAS bases Warton, Wattisham and Durham Tees Valley in April 2017.
"In working toward closure, these bases have been working a reduced number of shifts for some time now and all remaining bases have increased to 24/7 operating hours in order to continue to meet the demand for our service from local police forces.
"Through our National Control Centre, we provide a truly borderless police air support service by deploying the nearest available aircraft. We also move aircraft and crew around the country in support of the areas of greatest need.
"Prior to these most recent closures, we were normally able to reach 92% of the population of England and Wales within 20 minutes and 98% of 30 minutes. With our 15 24/7 bases across England and Wales, we will still be able to reach 92% of the population within 20 minutes and 97% within 30 minutes."
Officials and residents have taken to social media to say their final goodbyes to the base:
Sad day for Lancs. Just look at their Twitter feed to get a clue as to how busy they are. Thank you for all your assistance over the years. https://t.co/kOjmGfHk0a— Lancs Road Police (@LancsRoadPolice) March 19, 2017
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