NPAS Performance Summary
Just over 49,000 calls for air support have been received at the NPAS Flight Following and Despatch Centre so far this year (full details at Force and Regional level attached). Of these, just under 42% (20,420) received air support. In terms of the Service Level Agreements in the NPAS Collaboration Agreement for each force, air support meets the SLA in the vast majority of flights. The main reason for not providing air support was that the requesting Force cancelled the request (38%) or the request was declined by the NPAS Flight Following and Despatch Centre (14%). A small number of requests were found to be false calls (less than 2%) or were test requests or requests for information only (5%). Across the Regions, the North East received air support to the highest proportion of requests (at 49%) whilst the South East Region received the lowest (at 35%).
Where the NPAS Flight Following and Despatch Centre declined the request for air support, the main reason for this decline was weather (5.6% of requests were declined due to the weather conditions) followed by crew/craft not available (3.4%) and then that the request was not considered suitable for air support (2.5%). Across the Regions, the highest decline rate was for the South East where 7.3% of requests were declined due to weather condition, 5.3% due to crew/craft not being available and 2.9% not considered suitable for air support. Whilst the extent that requests for air support are declined due to weather conditions and as they are considered unsuitable for air support in the South East region is on par with other regions, those declined due to crew/craft not being available is relatively high. Examining the detail across forces in the South East Region, this issue appears to be improving over time but the decline rate is particularly high for Kent, Surrey, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.
Forces have a number of choices in terms of how they progress a request for air support including electronic transfer of an incident log, telephone or radio and the choice made is dependent upon the urgency of the request and the compatibility of the force/NPAS Flight Following and Despatch Centre command and control systems. Where there is an incident transfer it is possible to assess the time taken from sending the incident for transfer to acceptance at the NPAS Flight Following and Despatch Centre. This part of the air support process is very quick and takes, on average, less than 1 minute (as the NPAS Flight Following and Despatch Centre accept the logs with a delay that is a matter of seconds). The time then taken from the NPAS Flight Following and Despatch Centre accepting the incident transfer and despatching a craft is generally 3 to 4 minutes for priority 1 incidents and 13 to 15 minutes for priority 2 incidents. The time then taken from despatch of a craft to arrival on scene is generally 9 to 11 minutes for priority 1 incidents and 12 to 18 minutes for priority 2 incidents. The faster response times are generally in the North East and North West regions and slower times in the South West and South East regions Note this only relates to incidents that have been subject to electronic transfer and excludes urgent incidents where the hailing channel has been used or those telephoned in.
Just fewer than 30,000 tasks have been completed in just under 13,000 hours flown. In terms of the allocated flight hours, NPAS has provided 80% of the hours expected to have been flown to date and the majority of Forces are below the expected flight hours to date. Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire have very small allocations but have received more than twice its allocation. Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Cumbria, Essex, Thames Valley, Kent, Norfolk and Gloucestershire have all received more hours than their allocation to date. A number of forces are significantly below their allocate to date, most notably Devon and Cornwall, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Hampshire, Sussex, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Durham, Cleveland, South Yorkshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire and Staffordshire.
Typically, between 1 and 2 tasks are completed per flight and flight duration averages around 40 to 50 minutes. A relatively high number of tasks per flight are completed in the North West region (with a focus on hydroponics). Flight duration is generally shorter in the North East region (averaging 39 minutes per flight) compared to generally longer flight duration in the North West region (averaging 51 minutes per flight).