THE relocation of South Yorkshire Police's helicopter is to more than triple response times, We Are Barnsley can reveal.

In a public meeting last week, Coun John Parkinson - the council's representative on the South Yorkshire Police Authority - revealed it has been the only authority in the UK to object to plans to nationalise the police's helicopter service.

Coun John Parkinson said: "At the moment we get a response time of six minutes from Sheffield - if it moved there are fears the response time could go up to 22 minutes, a lot of criminals will be gone by then and we feel that 22 minutes is just too long.

"We were asked if we wished to join and we thought very long about it in relation to quality of service and reduction in service.

"We decided no, we did not want to join. We want to keep Sheffield as a permenent base. We are the only authority to say no because we get a better service doing what we do now and we are getting increasingly frustrated that our letters are requests for further information have not received any response."

In the last year, the police helicopter has completed 533 tasks in Barnsley and made 24 direct arrests. It has helped to apprehend a further 26 criminals and located four people missing from home. It has found ten stolen vehicles and recovered over £65,000 of stolen property and drugs.

The police helicopter - SY99 - is to be axed from 2013 in favour of a national service flying out of West Yorkshire, Humberside and Derbyshire. The move will save South Yorkshire Police around £668,000 per year out of its budget