Just seen this article on the BBC website
It did make me stop and think - we rely so much on the RNLI - a charity! The government should do more - and what about the air ambulance - again always struggling to raise funds and nowhere near enough of them.
In South Wales if you need an air sea rescue helicopter you have to wait for one to come from Devon - they closed the Welsh base years ago. Also many smaller coastguard stations have been closed over the years.
Having said that the government always find the money for Police helicopters. Now I know they are sometimes used for public safety etc but they are a very expensive way of policing. The crew aren't trained to anywhere near the same level and they don't usually have winches etc.
It strikes me as rather bad maths to use a £5,000,000 helicopter to chase joyriders in a £200 car.
Our local police helicopter is now being used to catch people driving offroad illegally - since January they have caught 20 of these EVIL people!
Joyriding is all but dying out - they just can't get modern cars away with their fancy new electronics - there aren't many Maestros and old Astras left!
It costs vast sums to run a helicopter - about £5000 per hour - West Yorkshire Police spend on average 4 hours a day in the air - that's 20K per DAY. When you see what a typical day consists of you would be horrified. Most of it is classified as training - a typical day described by yorkshire police involved catching a stolen caravan and a youth with an air rifle(who wasn't breaking the law anyway).
Many large American cities don't have their own police helicopters - do we really need them in Britain? I think more bobbies on the ground would be far better and a lot cheaper - maybe then they could put the money where it's really needed.
I was also looking at the really expensive RIB Dyfed powys police have - no doubt really needed but rotting away in a boat yard - looks like it hasn't moved in a long time!