National Police Air Service (NPAS)

NPAS and West Midlands Police go LIVE!

On Thursday 6 July tens of thousands of people took the opportunity to watch the National Police Air Service’s (NPAS) and West Midlands Police’s first ever 360 video, live from 1,500 feet in the air, on Twitter, Instagram Live, Facebook Live and Snapchat.

Viewers were able to have a 360 degree look around the helicopter and watch NPAS Tactical Flight Officers (TFO: police officers who work in helicopters) using on-board high tech equipment such as the camera / thermal imaging system, mission management systems and more, whilst working with officers on the ground, to track offenders from a stolen car.

The live broadcasts, across various social media platforms, were viewed almost 57,000 times and the posts reached more than 225,000 people. The 360 video – a world first – was streamed live on Periscope for Twitter and received more than 6,000 views.

A Q&A session, led by Operations Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman and NPAS Base Manager Martin Knowles, gave followers the opportunity to ask questions as well as a tour inside and outside the helicopter, which provided a fantastic insight into the role NPAS play in UK policing.

Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman said:
“We were overwhelmed with the support from members of the public and happy that we could show our followers an insight into how we work with NPAS.

“NPAS are a crucial resource that help us serve and protect the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“We’ll continue to innovatively use social media to reach as many people as possible and share the good work that all our officers and staff do on a daily basis."

Martin Knowles, Base Manager for NPAS, said:
“Going live with West Midlands Police provided a great opportunity to show the public how we work together effectively. Viewers were able to see the high tech equipment on board the helicopter, which is operated by the Tactical Flight Officers (TFO’s), and hopefully better understand why police forces choose to use helicopters and how they help them to fight crime and keep communities safe.”
The National Police Air Service operate all of the police helicopters across England and Wales. From a network of 15 national airbases, NPAS send the nearest available aircraft in response to the needs of police forces.


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