A PLAN to move the Sussex Police helicopter out of emergency range of residents in the Hastings area has been thrown out.
Sussex Police Authority won its bid to stop air support from moving to Dunsfold, Surrey, from the current base in Shoreham under plans to bring units together under a National Police Air Service umbrella.
Instead, the new proposal is for the helicopter to move to Redhill, which means Hastings and the rest of East Sussex can still be reached within the crucial 20-minute window.
Last year Sussex Police Authority rejected the Dunsfold proposal and demanded that a rethink should take place. Under that plan, the furthest places in East Sussex the helicopter would be capable of reaching in 20 minutes would have been Netherfield in Battle, as well as Seaford and Hailsham.
The think-tank behind the National Police Air Service looked at its proposal again and members of Sussex Police Authority were told the good news on Redhill at their meeting on February 16.
Steve Waight, chairman of Sussex Police Authority, welcomed the new location.
He said: “This scheme is far superior to the previous proposal and I’m glad that the authority held its ground and that the National Police Air Service has had a change of heart over the location of the south east air support unit.
“By standing firm we have managed to get a better service for the people of Sussex.”
• Police authorites country-wide have a target to save 22 per cent on their bill for air support services, which include searching for missing people and chasing criminals on the run.