AN MP has hit out at the centralised National Police Air Service which has seen response times for police helicopters in Dyfed-Powys almost double.

Dyfed-Powys lost its dedicated police helicopter in favour of an England and Wales when the change was made to a centralised scheme.

The plan is due to be reviewed by the National Police Chiefs council, the Minster of State for Wales announced in response to a question from Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr.

A recent report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary described the National Police Air Service as “financially unsustainable” and said that flying hours had nearly halved despite the cost of flight hours more than doubling since 2009.

The report said the service needed “urgent reform” and that Dyfed-Powys saw the second slowest response time throughout Wales and England, with the average response time taking 57 minutes and 42 seconds, almost double the time it took for the previous dedicated aircraft to get anywhere in the force area.

Mr Edwards accused the UK Government of providing a second-rate service to residents in West Wales.

In response the Minister for State announced that the Strategic Board of NPAS and the National Police Chiefs Council had recognised the problems and were working on addressing the issues.

Speaking after the exchange, Mr Edwards said: “I and thousands of residents warned that the Tory plans to give up our dedicated helicopter and introduce a centralised England and Wales system would lead to a poorer service for Dyfed-Powys.

“This report is much more drastic than I ever envisaged.

“It says the service is not fit for purpose, is financially unsustainable, and takes much longer to respond to requests for cover, if indeed it turns up at all. It is a damning verdict of failure of this service.

“We’re fortunate that Dyfed-Powys police force is led by a team of dedicated officers which provide the very best service to residents and help keep our communities safe.

“"The case for devolving responsibility for policing to Wales has never been stronger. We have already shown that doing so would see an additional £25million per year for our forces and, of course, it would allow Welsh forces to stop this centralisation of services which has so epically failed us.”