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New helicopter base for Devon police and air ambulance service

By ColleenSmith  |  Posted: May 12, 2014

The police NPAS helicopter with (from left) Captain Ian Kingston and Tactical Flight Officers PC Rob Caught and PC Phil Knowles at the new airbase at Exeter Airport

The police NPAS helicopter with (from left) Captain Ian Kingston and Tactical Flight Officers PC Rob Caught and PC Phil Knowles at the new airbase at Exeter Airport

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DEVON and Cornwall Police and Devon Air Ambulance Trust have this week relocated helicopter operations to a new shared airbase at Exeter Airport.

The two aircraft have been moved from the Middlemoor police HQ in Exeter following the sale of land for development.

The helicopters will be kept at a secure location at the nearby airport with a dedicated landing pad, hangar and purpose-built offices for both teams.

A police spokesman said: “There will be no change in service from either helicopter, and they will be under visual direction from Air Traffic Control when lifting or landing, as well as being at a location which benefits from enhanced security and aircraft services.”

The police helicopter, owned and co-ordinated by the National Police Air Service (NPAS) is frequently seen inb South Devon.

Live incidents include the location and rescue of missing people, thefts from homes and vehicles and tracking suspects.

It can be used to provide aerial imagery and to film live-time pictures for major incidents and to give back-up to colleagues on the ground in large-scale public order incidents.

Paignton-based Ian Payne, Flight Operations director for Devon Air Ambulance Trust and the former head of Devon and Cornwall’s police force air operations unit, said: “To work in partnership and share resources with the police is a win-win situation for all parties. We have worked successfully at a joint base for more than five years now and have achieved economies, not only in terms of infrastructure, but have also taken opportunities to share pilots and training resources.”

Chief Supt Jim Nye, the former head of Soputh Devon police, said: “Devon and Cornwall Police and Exeter Airport have been involved in discussions for the last two years around the force leasing land at the airport in order to relocate the police helicopter and Devon Air Ambulance from Police Headquarters at Middlemoor.

“As a result of these discussions the airport identified a piece of land as being ideal for the police to develop a joint air support facility.”

“The public should not notice any difference in the excellent service that the unit already provides. Operating hours and response times will not change.”

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