max temp: 12°C

min temp: 2°C


Suffolk: Police spend £1m a year on helicopter but spend is below budget

09:00 28 December 2012

Police helicopter

Police helicopter


KEEPING the police helicopter flying over Suffolk costs the taxpayer more than £1million each year, we can reveal.


According to figures released by Suffolk Constabulary, the helicopter has taken a £3.53m bite out of the force’s budget over the past three years.

Police bosses, who say the aircraft plays a valuable role, said they work on the basis that each hour in the helicopter costs about £1,750.

The figures, which cover the cost of the premises, fuel, maintenance and staffing, were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

They also reveal that from January this year to October, the police helicopter flew 822 hours, with the longest flight being the search for a missing person.

In 2011 the helicopter flew for 696 hours, down slightly on the 735 hours flown in 2010.

Since April 2011, the helicopter has provided air support to Norfolk and since April 2012 has also covered Cambridgeshire and north Essex. A spokesman said that although flying times this year have been “noticeably higher”, money has been saved because of the closure of helicopter bases in Norwich and Wyten.

He added: “The fixed costs of keeping a helicopter are a significant proportion of the annual costs, therefore the more use it gets, the less each flying hour costs.”

The actual length of the longest flights, which included “monitoring public order at a march”, were not released to protect details of the aircraft’s “tactical flight range”.

A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, who said the force had seen an overall reduction in expenditure last year, due to Norfolk Police buying into the services, said the spend on the helicopter was £44,000 under budget in 2011-12.

In 2010-11, the cost of the helicopter was £81,000 under budget. Suffolk was one of the first forces to join the national scheme for air support and added that by the end of January 2015, helicopters would only be flying from 20 strategic bases throughout the country.



  • just have to say that i believe the picture to be of the East Anglian Air Ambulance not the suffolk police helicopter sorry just saying lol

    Report this comment

    Martin Bignell

    Friday, December 28, 2012

  • Since day one with the introduction of the Suffolk police helicopter various folk have centred, quite rightly, on the costs involved. But what a great reassurance it is to us people in the countryside! And what a deterrent to wouldbe miscreants who might otherwise regard rural Suffolk as an easy target for their efforts. Suffolk is variously regarded as a wonderful, quiet place - or a rural backwater - let's make sure the powers that be don't take us back in time and rob us of our airborne coppers!

    Report this comment


    Friday, December 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Cannabis was found at Ipswich house

An illegal immigrant is facing a jail term after police found nearly 400 plants and seedlings at a cannabis factory set up in an east Ipswich house.

Orwell Bridge

A man has died after falling from the Orwell Bridge.

Childhood obesity figures revealed

One in 10 Suffolk children will become obese or overweight before leaving primary school, new figures have revealed.

Ben Gummer and Mark Pendlington at Ipswich rail station.

Campaigners seeking to improve rail services between East Anglia and London have insisted that the new report into infrastructure is good for the region – because it makes little reference to the route.

John Hobson, 65, of Mill Road in Colchester, who died following the crash

The partner of a man, who died following a crash in west Suffolk, has paid tribute to her “one true love”.

Alison Wheeler and Tony Brown.

Suffolk’s libraries are facing budget cuts of more than 11% over the next two years – but their chairman has pledged that no branches will be closed.

Kieron Dyer on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! 2015. Photo:  ITV/PA Wire

It was a rather uneventful night for former Ipswich Town player Kieron Dyer in the I’m A Celebrity... jungle last night

The Buttermarket Centre will become a £35m pleasure palace

Excitement is building as Ipswich prepares to welcome a string of big-name restaurants as part of the Buttermarket makeover.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service dealing with crane fire on M25. Photo: David Stubbs

Motorists travelling further afield are being urged to avoid the M25 this morning after a lorry fire.

It's been a busy day in Ipswich

All the news from a busy day in Ipswich in video form, including the closure of Marks and Spencer, station revamp and sport.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24