CAMBRIDGESHIRE police will lose their dedicated eye in the sky on Saturday (March 31) when the force’s helicopter takes its last flight after 15 years.
The force’s air support unit, based at RAF Wyton, will be grounded to save £500,000 a year.
Helicopters from Essex and Suffolk will provide cover for the next six months. After that, Cambridgeshire will be covered by the National Police Air Service (NPAS), which is expected to save £15million nationally. This is due to start on October 1.
A police spokesman said: “We are committed to maintaining a high-quality policing service that continues to make Cambridgeshire a safer place to live in, work in and visit, using all the resources available to us, including air support.”
One pilot will retire on Saturday with two more joining the NPAS.
The loss of the Cambridgeshire force helicopter also impacts on the emergency medical charity, Magpas Helimedix.
The service has used the force’s helicopter since 1997 when it was introduced to attend medical emergencies and take patients to hospital.
Daryl Brown, chief executive, said: “Thanks to our unique relationship we have been able to fly to the scene of thousands of seriously ill or injured patients night and day, all over the county and beyond, saving countless lives.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the police, their pilots and air observers who have worked tirelessly alongside us, helping our Helimedix teams to make a crucial, life-saving difference.
“Despite the withdrawal of the police helicopter, Magpas will ensure it continues to deliver lifesaving medics by rapid response vehicle, land ambulance and by helicopter across Cambridgeshire and the East of England.”