Tis' the internet-I guess what I see as providing a subtle bit of sarcasm loses effect in black and white , don't you think it's a mystery how a unit (or more) can happily exist for years doing 750 pa and then at the stroke of midnight make do with 500 from much further away and sold as having an improved and more efficient service?
Anyway, surprised you're still posting, looks like most have gone away or been warned off......
Last edited by Art of flight; 6th Dec 2012 at 12:57.
Well having now worked under NPAS for 2 months I can finally see things moving in the right direction which is nice to see after all the serious stresses and strains every single bobby and pilot have been under the last 18months......but the hill is still very steep and long.
And no, none of us have been told in any shape or form that we are not allowed to communicate with the outside world about what's going on at the coalface.
I think we are all too dizzy from going round the same old circles so many times.
To pick up on 'wasted hours'. How does one quantify wasted hours? You'll never know how much effect just the noise of the aircraft has on cutting crime.
Much like you can't quantify the crime cutting effect of a bobby on the beat. Is a bobby simply walking around a deterrent, or wasted hours? I'd like to point out that the publics biggest call is that they want more bobbies out on the beat!
Despite being retired for a number of years now, I am still frquently asked to give talks on Police Air Support.
I don't think that many Senior Police officers today realise just how popular the Police helicopter is/was with the public.
It was brought home to me some time ago, when somone in the hall I was speaking at, had the sheer temerity to compain about the noise of the helicopter! He was rapidly put down by a number of old age pensioners who told him in no uncertain manner that the helicopter made them feel safe at night.
It would seem that many old people worry about crime at night, especially now that "the bobby on the beat" is a thing of the past. They cannot hear, and are therefore not comforted by the patrol car passing their door. But they do hear the helicopter, and know that the police are up there watching over them!
A bit sad I know, but it is true! So I agree with the comment above about wasted hours. Those hours over the town or City are not wasted, they are providing a valuable service in bolstering a waning confidence in our service and also increasing the pressure on those intent on committing crime.
Mere presence certainly works - both on the ground and in the air.
I have seen the 'suspects' depart at the sight of a uniform lingering on foot on many many occasions and have always held that such subtleties are completely lost on the ranks of ACPO and their like simply because in their headlong rush for money and ranking they actually forgot what real policing is about. You cannot count 'no crime' on your fingers but you can see it - its called tranquility and public safety.
Although I was never a 24/7/365 air support person I was aware of a number of instances where a station has rung in to thank the air unit for their help in getting the suspects to give themselves up .... each time the aircraft was merely in transit to base and was totally unaware of the situation below. If I tripped over a few there must have been many.
Street policing works [when you can get it] and so does air cover [when you can get it].
“The National Police Air Service utilises the facility at Rochester Airport as a forward operating base. There is a commitment to continue this agreement for the foreseeable future to ensure an appropriate service is delivered to Kent and the surrounding area. The cooperation received from the airport management has enhanced the relationship in support of our continued use of Rochester Airport.” Richard Watson, Ground Operations Director, National Police
A commitment! Just how formal is this commitment that it isn't mentioned in any of the plans? How much will be invested in the regeneration in order to fulfil any of these commitments? Any other little 'black holes' around the country?
The article includes a police statement that provides the crucial reasoning behind NPAS “The fixed costs of keeping a helicopter are a significant proportion of the annual costs, therefore the more use it gets, the less each flying hour costs.” but I suspect that string of words may have been put together by someone having a major stake in NPAS!
It's ALL about the savings. It will be interesting to see how the next round of cuts effect the service, I know from experience that the boys and girls in NPAS are working so hard to make this work, but I fear the lack of funding will eventually roll up more units towards the '9 aircraft option'.
All it will take is for the stats to show, lack of results, longer transits (including returning to base for fuel before going to the next task which also effects response times), falling requests for air support from small counties looking to save cash, and officers on the ground feeling it's not worth calling as it takes too long.
nice pic of the EAAA aircraft with the caption 'police helicopter' in the Suffolk news article posted by PAN.
Art you are of course right. When the Met join the SE region the main urban area is covered and I think that the other 4 bases, covering rural areas, may well close or be drastically reduced. Onward the slow march of death to Air Support as we know it. And yes I am sure that when the statistics are looked at they will tell a story, depending how they are read, which I am sure will be 180 degrees from how they were read when the SE region had its trial prior to and in support of NPAS. IMHO