Commissioner delays planned closure of police air support base

Cleveland Police helicopter

Cleveland Police helicopter

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The planned closure of the police air support base at Tees Valley Airport has been delayed following an intervention by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger.

This comes as the number of police air bases operated by the National Police Air Service is being cut from 25 to 15 due to funding cutbacks.

Barry Coppinger.

Barry Coppinger.

The changes, due to take place in Spring of 2016, would have seen the closure of the Tees Valley base with air cover for Cleveland Police provided in future from Newcastle and Yorkshire.

During a meeting of the NPAS board, members discussed the implementation of the new operating model and were informed there would be delays in acquiring three fixed wing aircraft, and delays as a result of the late confirmation by the Home Office regarding some funding aspects.

Commissioner Mr Coppinger, a board member, proposed that NPAS continue to operate from the Durham Tees Valley base until April 2017 and that the implementation of the new operating model continue to be kept under review, with the board to be kept updated. The board accepted his proposal.

Mr Coppinger said: “I am pleased that the lifetime of police air support operating from Durham Tees Valley airport has been extended. Whilst the new model provides much needed savings, we cannot take the risk of closing the base on Teesside without effective, alternative air support being in place.