Sad Day for Suffolk
Police Helicopter Station at Wattisham shuts down after 18 years
Nearly two decades serving Suffolk from the skies on 30 March 2017 Suffolk’s only police helicopter station at Wattisham Airfield closed down.
As a result of the closure of National Police Air Service (NPAS) air operations have moved to Boreham, Essex. 18 years ago Suffolk Constabulary invested in their own force helicopter, creating a police station at Wattisham Airfield.
As financial pressures on the police grew, a region of five counties formed a single police air service, which then paved the way for NPAS, a “borderless” air service formed in 2012.
On 31 Mar 17 five police pilots based at Wattisham left the service on voluntary redundancies, while other staff have moved to Boreham. The man responsible for NPAS in the region admitted it is a “sad day” after so many years serving residents, from missing person searches to tracking down criminals on the run.
Paul Marrion, assistant operations director for NPAS south east, who has 20 years in police air service, said: “It is sad, but at the end of the day we have been asked to reduce costs of the service while maintaining a certain level across the country.”
He added: “The same level of service currently available to Suffolk will remain…people will still be seeing the police helicopter in the skies above Suffolk.”