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Northumbria Police has third fastest air support in country

Northumbria Police's helicopter.
Northumbria Police's helicopter.

Northumbria has the third fastest average helicopter response time of any police force across England and Wales, according to new statistics.

The force is behind only the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester, data from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) reveals.

The figures show that, in 2016, the average response time from receipt of call until Northumbria Police’s aircraft arrived on scene was around 17 minutes.

Nationally, however, inspectors have urged police leaders to act quickly to fundamentally change the National Police Air Service to improve its efficiency and effectiveness.

The assessment was undertaken following concerns from some police forces, as a result of which the National Police Chiefs’ Council invited HMICFRS to carry out an inspection of police air support provided by helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and drones.

It incorporated information from all 43 police forces in England and Wales, as well as interviews with senior officers.

Matt Parr, who led the inspection said: “Among those who lead police aviation, we have found high levels of skill, dedication and commitment.

“However, we found some fundamental problems with the current collaborative arrangements for police air support.”