Humberside Police helicopter Oscar 99 could be shared with other forces
THE Humberside Police helicopter Oscar 99 could soon be shared with other police forces.
Members of Humberside Police Authority have this week agreed to the statutory requirement to share resources with neighbouring police forces.
At a meeting in Hull, members discussed the creation of a National Police Air Service, which will see Humberside lose its own dedicated helicopter.
The debate was held when members of the public and press were excluded, but an authority spokesman said that members "planned to issue a letter of intent" to go ahead with the merger.
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The helicopter is expected to be used in the fight against crime and deployed as far north as Northumberland and in West Yorkshire.
The spokesman continued: "There are a number of technical questions which members felt had to be answered before they go forward.
"Various members raised technical questions on how the helicopter would operate in the future.
"It is a statutory requirement. All police forces are expected to follow. But it won't go forward until the questions have been resolved. That will not take long."
Earlier this year, Policing Minister Nick Herbert announced he will use powers under the Police Reform And Social Responsibility Act 2011 to order forces to collaborate with each other.
Oscar 99 has been used for more than ten years in Humberside looking out for missing persons, monitoring crimes in progress, pursuits, photographic tasks, road traffic collisions and for public order incidents.
Its heat-seeking camera has also been used to detect homes where drugs are cultivated.
In 2010, it was used in 729 incidents in North East Lincolnshire.
That cost a total of £339,200. prompting some councillors to question how cost-effective the helicopter is at a time when the force has to cut its budget by £30 million over four years.
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