National Police Air Service (NPAS)

North East Region join National Police Air Service

2nd April 2013

North East Region join National Police Air Service

Today, (Monday, April 1st), Police forces in the North East (Cleveland, Durham, Humberside, Northumbria, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire) join the National Police Air Service (NPAS). This is the third phase of implementation since the launch of NPAS on 1st October 2012.  The remaining police forces in England and Wales will join NPAS by January 2015. 

The focus of NPAS is to deliver a more cost effective service, balancing the need to save money in a challenging economic environment against the need to ensure the police have a quickly deployable asset that can be used to tackle crime and protect the public.

Responding to the findings of a comprehensive review commissioned in 2009, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and individual Police Authorities approved the central recommendation to replace the previous air support system with a national service, regionally coordinated for local delivery.

In difficult financial times, NPAS illustrates how the police are pro-actively moving towards a national, co-ordinated way of working. NPAS is delivered under the first National Collaboration Agreement between policing bodies in England and Wales. Through collaborative working this enables a service to provide capability from the air that maximises the delivery of frontline public services, but with a lower cost than services procured and managed on a local basis.

NPAS operates under a lead force model through West Yorkshire Police.  This ensures that NPAS is led and owned by the police and delivers the operational benefits and financial savings that have been presented to individual police bodies.

Once all forces join NPAS there will be 25 aircraft based at 23 strategic locations that provide the operational capability to deliver an effective and efficient air support service. This will be achieved through borderless tasking and making use of the nearest available aircraft through the central Despatch and Flight Monitoring service which is based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. NPAS will deliver a service with an aircraft available 24 hours a day and is supported by three reserve aircraft when aircraft are offline for scheduled maintenance to minimise reduction in service.

There have been many sucesssful air operations since NPAS launched including the ongoing assistance with the 17 week trial for the murder of two Greater Manchester Police (GMP) female officers.  The trial involves significant movement of defendants under escort with the largest demand for air support coverage outside of the Olympics last year.  NPAS is able to meet the requirement through use of the reserve aircraft and regional resilience which would not have been possible pre NPAS.

Police service business lead for NPAS, Chief Constable Alex Marshall said, “I am delighted that the North East Region joins NPAS today, a service that will provide efficient and effective air service for the public of England and Wales. NPAS has already seen the significant benefits that borderless tasking can bring to police operations and with the joining of the North East forces we will build upon this.  NPAS will continue to strive for operational effectiveness and innovative contracts which will enable additional savings to be achieved.”

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