Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Tom Elliott MLA has pledged his backing to have a police helicopter based in Fermanagh, which could improve the operational capabilities of the police to serve the communities of Fermanagh & Tyrone.
Tom said: “I raised the issue in the Assembly in 2009 why the police in Fermanagh were chartering a private helicopter to back up security operations, at a cost of £52,000 and this new development which should vastly improve the capabilities of the police in the area. At present time the three helicopters in Northern Ireland are based at Aldergrove which meant them having to return to base for refuelling.
“While Fermanagh as a location is very important for the helicopter, the exact location within the Fermanagh is something that should require further discussion and I will be encouraging the authorities to discuss the matter with the directors of St Angelo airport which is the hub of aviation within the County and wider area. This would provide an opportunity to explore all available options.
“With the closure of many of our police stations in Fermanagh it is imperative that security forces can quickly attend an incident and the use of helicopters means you can quickly get personnel to the scene of crime or injury. We continue to live in dangerous times with continuing dissident activity and it is vital that our security forces have all the necessary support to counter any threats.
“There was always a strong case for helicopter cover in border areas and these can be used for many different functions, dissident threat, anti-crime operations , search and rescue operations and evacuate causalities from serious accidents to nearest hospital. I trust that the issues can be resolved and progress to have a police helicopter based in Fermanagh can be advanced as soon as possible.”