Police helicopters are taking so long to reach crime scenes that the incident is over before they arrive in more than 40% of cases.
On average, more than half of forces had to wait beyond 30 minutes for a helicopter to arrive.
A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services described the National Police Air Service (NPAS) as “financially unsustainable” in its current form.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr told Sky News “some pretty urgent reform is needed”.
He said: “We’re not convinced that the way it is operating at the moment and its plans for the future represent the most efficient or the most effective way to provide aviation support to the police.”
The long response times have contributed to a 45% decline in the number of hours flown since 2009 – and some officers say this has, in turn, meant an increase in criminals trying to outrun police.
Source: Sky News.