THE North West will have one fewer police helicopter as forces across the region work together to make savings against a background of government cuts.
Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and North Wales police authorities have agreed to progress collaboration in several areas including air support.
A Regional Air Support Unit will be established, saving £750,000 per annum, using four helicopters and four air bases to supply 24/7 police air coverage across the North West and North Wales from a centrally located control room.
This will ensure that the nearest helicopter can be sent to an incident.
As a result, the current Merseyside helicopter – the oldest in the fleet – and its air base will be decommissioned.
A regional chief firearms coordinator will be appointed to better understand and address the firearms threat across the whole area, through common ways of working and regional training.
The six police forces will work together to respond more effectively to public order incidents such as football matches and demonstrations.
A high-level review of forensic services has taken place to establish the potential for regional collaboration.
Agreement has also been reached to develop common training programmes, facilitate regional planning, share resources and reduce costs.
Cheshire police authority spokeswoman Margaret Ollerenshaw said: “Police forces are managed and run separately from each other, so while these agreements seem like common sense, they will need some careful planning in order to ensure that each force continues to provide their communities with efficient and cost effective policing services that reflect the needs of those communities.”