Police helicopter to stay Wattisham until April 2017

The National Police Air Service (NPAS) Suffolk helicopter based at Wattisham ANL-150323-113351001

The National Police Air Service (NPAS) Suffolk helicopter based at Wattisham ANL-150323-113351001

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Suffolk’s police helicopter has had a reprieve because of delays in the funding of fixed wing aircraft.

The Home Office confirmed in February last year that Wattisham’s National Police Air Service base would be one of 10 to close during the coming year, with Boreham, near Chelmsford, becoming Suffolk’s nearest police airbase.

But the NPAS Strategic Board has decided it will now stay open, along with bases at Warton and Durham, until April 2017.

The effect of having more widely spaced bases was supposed to be offset by the introduction of faster, longer range, and cheaper to operate, fixed-wing aircraft.

But at the board’s last meeting, the NPAS business development manager Susan Carte said there had been ‘slippage’ in the delivery dates for the aircraft to April 2017 to May 2018, mainly due to the delay in confirming the capital funding from the Home Office .