Nia Griffith MP has thrown her weight behind Dyfed Powys Police Authority in their bid to keep the force’s police helicopter. The Home Office is proposing to replace the helicopter, which is currently operating out of purpose built premises in Pembrey, with a fixed-wing aircraft operating out of Withybush. Working on a cross-party basis with other local MPs, Nia Griffith has written to the policing minister Nick Herbert MP, making the case for keeping the helicopter.
Explaining the problem, Nia said
“Members of the police authority have highlighted to me sections of a review by Police Air Support Unit Executive Officers which states quite clearly why the rural area of Dyfed Powys is best served by a helicopter, and the substitution of the helicopter by a fixed wing aircraft simply will not do.
It confirms officially what seems pretty self-evident to most of us, namely that the versatility of a helicopter means it can land in inhospitable terrain, work in wind gusts of up to 60 knots and cope with the complexities of our sea cliffs and mountainous territory, in a way that a fixed wing aircraft simply cannot do.
We have a purpose built helicopter facility at Pembrey, which I understand the Police Authority spent some £1.5 million on only a matter of 18 months ago. That included a substantial Home Office grant, and it is inexcusable to be wasting money like this at any time, but it particularly grates at a time when Home Office ministers are cutting the police budget by 20%.”