Thursday, July 18, 2013

Two police staff arrested over helicopter logbook theft: South Yorkshire, UK

Two South Yorkshire Police employees have been arrested on suspicion of stealing a logbook belonging to the force’s currently out-of-action helicopter.

Both employees have been bailed and a criminal investigation is ongoing.

The helicopter owned by the force has been grounded for six months because of delays to its annual maintenance check.

Two weeks ago, police also confirmed one of its two logbooks was ‘missing’, although they stressed that was not the reason the machine could not fly.

A police spokesman said: “Two South Yorkshire Police employees were arrested on suspicion of theft and are currently on bail.”

“This is part of an ongoing criminal investigation.”

In April, the force’s helicopter transferred to the National Police Air Service, set up by the Government to reduce policing costs by making forces share aircraft.

The now disbanded South Yorkshire Police Authority, which used to oversee the way the county’s police force was run, objected to the formation of a national service when the original suggestion included a plan to close the police helicopter base in Sheffield.

But after months of negotiation, police chiefs were promised 10 hours of helicopter coverage a day from Sheffield.

NPAS is currently loaning a cover helicopter during peak times to South Yorkshire Police with out-of- hours cover from other nearby forces also in place at other times.

The force’s own helicopter is believed to still be in Gloucestershire, awaiting replacement parts from America.

It had a number of faults which meant the annual maintenance check could not be completed, leaving the machine out of action.

Earlier this month, police said they needed to ‘reconstruct’ the airframe logbook record as the document was ‘missing’.

At the time, it could not be confirmed when the helicopter would return to service.



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