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  1. Police are deliberately not calling helicopters because they cost too much or take too long to arrive, potentially allowing criminals to escape, according to a damning new report. Full Story - Independent It's good that this problem is being reported by quite a lot of different news agencies, but it's sad that almost half of calls are cancelled because the helicopter would arrive too late. It's good that HMIC accepts that all NPAS delivers is cost saving and not a better service. Regarding coverage, about a year ago when base closures were announced there was an image going round on twitter that showed that lots of the country won't be in easy reach of a helicopter at all. Derbyshire police is considering pulling out of NPAS completely and I assume that there would be no replacement either (http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/police-warn-cuts-threaten-helicopter-824655).
  2. Abnormal demand resulted in missed calls for police air support. The National Police Aviation Service has begun the process of requesting extra funding from the Home Office amid public safety concerns following recent events. NPAS strategic board chairman Mark Burns-Williamson and West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Dee Collins, submitted a letter to the Home Secretary in March highlighting concerns around future fleet strategy and financing. Since then the country has suffered three terrorist incidents, the Grenfell Tower disaster on June 14 and disorder in Stratford on June 25 – leading NPAS to face ‘unprecedented’ demand with a need to provide continuous response. Helicopters carried personnel and did reconnaissance for up to 13 hours during the Westminster Bridge and Borough Market attacks. However, they can only fly for two to three hours at a time, so each major incident uses five or six of the UK fleet of 19. This means other calls for police air support go unanswered. Details of how many requests for air support had to be turned down during the London attacks were redacted from the meeting minutes. The Home Office failed to respond to March’s letter nor the follow up sent in June which Mr Burns-Williamson described as “unacceptable.” However, discussions have since taken place between Mr Burns-Williamson, CC Collins and Policing Minister Nick Hurd on the demand for police air support in the future. “With these plans in place, we hope to demonstrate both the clearly defined requirement to sustain current levels of service to UK policing along with the return on investment to both government, local and national policing bodies.” Mr Burns-Williamson said. “Consideration is currently being given to alternative models for the future provision of other areas of specialist capability in UK policing. The lessons learned through nationally delivering a 24/7 police air support service will no doubt usefully inform these processes and future direction going forwards.” The annual spend on helicopters has been slashed from £53.5 million in 2012 to £38.5 million now with eight out of 23 police airfields shut and the service centralised. A request has now been made by the Home Office for NPAS to submit a fully costed treasury plan for a new fleet by April 2018. A spokesman for NPAS who described the response and demand as ‘unprecedented’ added: “We need to start considering fleet and funding, clearly there’s a need there with an aging fleet. It’s a bit like cars, you can keep old cars running and they can pass their MOT, aircraft are a little like that – at what point will they stop passing their MOT?” NPCC Police Aviation Lead and Cambridgeshire Chief Constable, Alec Wood Combs, has sent a questionnaire to chiefs and PCCs asking their requirements for air services in the future and what NPAS needs to do differently. The results from the questionnaire will be used to support NPAS’s treasury plan. CC Collins, QPM and Air Operations Certificate Holder for NPAS said: “The National Police Air Service is groundbreaking and I’m very proud to be leading it. The men and women in our organisation seek to deliver support across the country to the best of their ability and in doing so, successfully deliver a professional service to every police force throughout England and Wales. “We have had some challenges in this but nothing that I would not expect as the first ‘pathfinder’ national policing capability. “We now have an opportunity to work with the Home Office and our partners to develop what the future needs for police aviation are and the resultant cost of achieving it. “What I am absolutely certain of is the service that NPAS provides is key to challenging some of the risks that our communities face." A Home Office spokesman said: “We want a modern and flexible air service, which meets the operational needs of forces and represents the best possible value for money for taxpayers. “It is for the police themselves to determine what air support they need and we will consider their plans once they are brought forward.” View on Police Oracle
  3. DYFED-POWYS Police's crime commissioner Christopher Salmon is being ordered to "come clean" on his position regarding the future of the force's police helicopter. It comes after information obtained by Plaid shows Mr Salmon did not oppose the scrapping of the helicopter or closure of the Pembrey base by the National Police Air Support (NPAS). However, Mr Salmon last night maintained his commitment to safeguarding the helicopter stating: "I'm fighting for the best possible police air service for the people of Dyfed-Powys. "The Chief Constable Simon Prince and I continue to discuss with NPAS over the needs of our communities. "I won't sign up for any service that doesn't meet the needs of our region or match what we're paying for." Despite his pledge, a Freedom of Information request from the office of Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards and AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas has revealed Mr Salmon was "reluctant to oppose" the new NPAS model which will see the dedicated Dyfed-Powys helicopter removed from operation on January 1, next year. The minutes from a February NPAS meeting which Mr Salmon attended stated: "Christopher Salmon stated he was reluctant to oppose the model as he recognised this was the direction that NPAS needed to move in even though it appeared the agreement that Dyfed- Powys signed had changed." The force signed an agreement with NPAS in November to keep a chopper on-station at Pembrey following months of negotiations. But NPAS announced it is going to scrap 10 of its 25 bases, including Pembrey. Mr Salmon has publicly stated he is now fighting to retain it. However, in light of the information obtained by Plaid, AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas has set an ultimatum for him to decide whether he is committed to joining the fight to protect the helicopter. Mr Thomas said: "The residents of Dyfed- Powys will be left speechless by the explosive information contained in the NPAS strategic board minutes. Given his recent public statements it is almost inconceivable that the police commissioner was reluctant to oppose the loss of our dedicated police helicopter. Just six months ago the commissioner announced to huge fan fair that he had reached an agreement to secure the helicopter's future. Three months later, however, he sat in a meeting having been confronted with a change in that agreement and yet the minutes suggest he didn't put up one shred of opposition to losing the service that serves the people he is meant to represent. "Ultimately, the commissioner needs to decide whether he is on the same side as public opinion and prepared to join the campaign to protect the helicopter or whether he is more concerned in appeasing his Tory colleagues who are slashing police budgets and centralising services. "Christopher Salmon should consider a public apology for his woefully inadequate representation and come clean on whether backs the retention of the helicopter and base at Pembrey." Read more: http://www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk/Commissioner-told-come-clean/story-26573949-detail/story.html#ixzz3bQUgg9Jo Follow us: @Carmjournal on Twitter | carmarthenjournal on Facebook Source: Carmarthen Journal http://www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk/Commissioner-told-come-clean/story-26573949-detail/story.html
  4. Police Scotland have been ridiculed for spending taxpayers' cash re-branding their helicopter in Gaelic. Nationalist MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh tweeted a photo of herself sitting in the helicopter which bears the name of Police Scotland in the ancient Scots language. For full story please use the following link http://dailym.ai/1Unvb1F I actually thought this was a joke at first.
  5. donatello

    Goodbye ASU

    Well this is the last week of the MPS having their own ASU. As from next week we are joining NPAS. There could be some interesting times ahead
  6. Topic for all NPAS Chat Did you get a better service from your forces air support unit or has NPAS enhanced the service you receive?

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