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British police helicopter attacked on ground

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British police helicopter attacked on ground

Old 14th May 2009, 09:30
  #1 (permalink)  
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British police helicopter attacked on ground

Just unbelievable:

Gypsies trash 5million police helicopter - Telegraph

Gypsies trash 5million police helicopter

A group of gipsies wrecked a 5million police helicopter to stop officers keeping them under surveillance.

By Ben Leach
Last Updated: 9:18AM BST 14 May 2009

The gang used axes to smash five windows - causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to the only police helicopter in the county.
The vandalism followed weeks of aerial surveillance on a travellers' site where stolen cars and goods are believed to be being kept.
The incident happened at around 10pm after the gipsies climbed a 4ft wall surrounding the police force's helipad at Fairoaks airport, near Woking.
They threatened staff in the operations room before trashing the aircraft, which is expected to be sidelined for another two weeks while repairs are made.
As the helicopter is the only one owned by Surrey Police neighbouring forces are having to provide air cover during police operations in the county.
Detectives were apparently ready to raid the gipsies' site on the back of evidence filmed from the air, according to The Sun newspaper.
A Surrey Police spokesman said the identity of the vandals was "unknown".
He said: "The incident is part of an ongoing investigation and security measures are being reviewed as part of this.
"We are working with a maintenance contractor to ensure the aircraft is back on line as soon as possible."


Last edited by Senior Pilot; 14th May 2009 at 10:09. Reason: Add text as quote
skadi is offline  
Old 14th May 2009, 10:09
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It certainly is very unbelievable......NOT!

I was made aware of the most recent incident shortly after it happened by a source from Surrey Police. Which didn't come as a surprise to me!

If I've got my facts correct - this is the second time the aircraft has been damage intentially by unknown suspect?

A similiar incident took place within the last six to twelve months where the very same ASU was attacked in the early hours of the morning whilst under the blanket of darkness by unknown suspects. This immediately took the ASU of line and out of police operations for a short time.

Apparantly and not confirmed I was also informed, later that same morning there was a serious robbery within the county which was possibly linked to the aircraft being damaged initially, so the aircraft was not avaible to respond, locate and assist with apprehension of the suspects concerned?

Surrey Police really do need to think long and hard in relation to the safety and security of firstly their ASU staff and then secondly the aircraft and the aircraft's current base location.

Fairoaks is a lovely and idillic, established airfield but for the location of an ASU base it's very vulnerable. I admit, both Surrey Police and previously in conjunction with the Met Police (SEASU) there has been an ASU based at Fairoaks for a number of years now, but as stated in the "Telegraph" newspaper, the suspect's jumped over a small wall which is does exist to which any member of the public can go airside at anytime, especially during the night hours.

Secret Service
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Old 14th May 2009, 10:11
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Oh gee....what a feat!

Under the cover of darkness, a gang of thugs stepped over a four foot high wall....intimidated unarmed folks with axes.....vanalize a Police Helicopter....Detectives were ready to make arrests on thefts but the identity of the axemen remains unknown.

A few questions pop to top here.

Four foot wall....what about a ten foot fence with razor wire on top....electric gates operated by those inside the compound....Video cams....motion/infrared sensors like Tesco's use for Burglar Alarms....and Armed Police then the Id's of the Axemen could be determined by DNA and Fingerprints assisted by a third eye.

Someone really needs firing over this!
SASless is offline  
Old 14th May 2009, 10:27
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SASless - you clearly have got out of touch with our esteemed police force and its competency levels. Hair raising stories abound this side of the fence. We have police no-go areas in rural Somerset for goodness sake. Dia-bleeding-bollical
bast0n is offline  
Old 14th May 2009, 10:32
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I'm not sure that Fairoaks is actually a police no-go area. The fact that I work there has put them off, sure, but they still pop in now and again.

I wonder if the Army will lend them an Apache to replace it whilst its out of action - that way they could sort out the pikeys permanently...
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Old 14th May 2009, 11:16
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remind me of oldie but goodie.

What key can open any lock?
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Old 14th May 2009, 11:28
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Baston , old chap You are actually quite offensive in your remarks . I take it you speak from a long history of experience as a serving police officer , during which you encountered all manner of violent people and faced oodles of differnent weaponry.
Police officers in the main are not incompetent , the senior officers set over them and the policies and procedures they have to abide by most certainly are .
As for no go areas , you really do watch too much television .
Having worked for years as a police officer in London and Manchester I have yet to even hear of a no go area let alone avoid one .
Alternatively Joint eh special constabulary , Im sure you would clear the crime rate up in minutes few with your exceptionla knoweldge of policing matters
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Old 14th May 2009, 11:50
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I am sorry if I appeared offensive. That was far from my mind. I will not go into details of mind boggling police activity,or lack of it ,around here. Suffice it to say that Grumpy Old Men have a very different view of the Police Force nowadays than they held 30 or 40 years ago. Ask around. Also, no, I am not a police officer, but I am a very strong supporter of them, and their attempts to control crime. I feel that due to many reasons, political, fast track promotion,lack of topdown cover from above for the officers on the ground and so on and so on, has left them with a much poorer reputation than thay held in days gone by. No Go areas around here? I will tell you an illustrative story if you would like to PM me.
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Old 14th May 2009, 11:51
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Gypsies smash 5million police helicopter with axes in revenge for 'spy' flights | Mail Online

The Mails version, wrong helicopter, but at least it is black and yellow. To those who mock us doing the job: Big electric fences and security cost lots of money. Guess what??? Senior officers don't have lots of money. You and I know that the helicopter is worth a fortune, but the police are being stretched to the limit. We run our unit with 1 civilian UEO, one sgt and 4 crews. No admin staff at all. We try our best to protect with what we have.
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Old 14th May 2009, 12:40
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Just thinking aloud here, so don't everyone get in a state. This is supposed to be a discussion, not an attack.

How cost/result-effective are UK police helicopters? They cost an awful lot of money (2,000-4,000 per flight hour?), what main results do they get? Looking for missing persons, chasing car theives, covering public gatherings?

Would this money be best spent on other aspects of policing or crime prevention? How many police on the beat would a police helicopter budget buy? Do police helicopters prevent crime? Or do they reinforce the "them and us" problem for police and the public. (eg witness the unpopularity of police sitting in lay-bys with speed cameras).

Given the negative preception of the police in the wake of the Stockwell shooting and the G20 demonstration problems, do police helicopters help or hinder the public's perception of the police.

Over the USA every tin-pot county and city seems to have a police helicopter and it can seem to be because local politicans want their county/city to have one so they can feel superior. Does that happen here?

Do the UK public really want police helcopters? What do the public really think of them? Are they willing to see their taxes spent on them? Or would they prefer a few more local policemen/initiatives for young people etc?

I'd be interested to hear people opinions on this. Obviously all the police pilots out there will have an "pro helicopter" opinion, but what does everyone else think?

Last edited by flap flap flap; 14th May 2009 at 17:24.
Old 14th May 2009, 12:50
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You are not related to Paarmo are you? 2,000-4,000 per flight hour? Where'd you get that from??
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Old 14th May 2009, 12:52
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As a non-pilot, non police officer etc I would suggest that most people would generally support a police helicopter if it does useful things.

I suspect most people would think that keeping an eye on gypsies was useful and if it provided evidence that lead to their apprehension then fantastic.

I aslo suspect that most members of the public would not approve of them being used to spot speeding motorists as it is alledged some use up their hours doing.

I also guess that many members of the public would be surprised that it was so easy for "unknown" assailants to damage this aircraft be getting over a 4ft wall! I suspect most members of the public would anticapate that the helicopter was kept in a secure area, although I guess that it wouldn't occur to most people that it would be delibrately damaged whilst on the ground.
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Old 14th May 2009, 12:55
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I'm no relation to anyone!

2,000-4,000 was just a wild guess. Does anyone know the cost per flight hour?

A flight school will charge an AS355 out at 1,000 per hour, so I guessed an ASU with all the other costs, the cost to the taxpayer would be more? I know the London met EC145s were not cheap!

Last edited by flap flap flap; 14th May 2009 at 13:17. Reason: EC145 correction
Old 14th May 2009, 13:13
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Ahem.....I think you mean 145's.
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Old 14th May 2009, 13:59
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I aslo suspect that most members of the public would not approve of them being used to spot speeding motorists as it is alledged some use up their hours doing.
From my own experiences (ex-chief pilot of a police ASU), it's a fallacy to suggest that police helicopters deliberately take off merely in the hope of "spotting" speeding motorists, or carry out "patrols". It's a waste of valuable resources and the last people on earth who would wish to do this would be the crews themselves. That's not to say that an aircraft on it's way from a job would ignore an obvious case of irresponsible or dangerous driving because of a moral and legal responsibility to do some thing about it.
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Old 14th May 2009, 14:19
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Flight schools make PROFIT. A typical EC135 flying hour with all pilotage and engineering costs well under 2000 per hour. When other forces use us, we charge them under a grand.
When we see speeding motorists, we use the camera for a close up first, more than 75% of those stopped usually end up being done for more serious crimes. It is filtered by our experience, we assess manner of driving/car type/area/intel/time of day/is car insured/is car well away from home etc etc. If something is dodgy sounding, we get it stopped. This has netted large amounts of drugs/stolen property/wanted criminals/stolen ringer cars and firearms. Sometimes we stop innocent people, then people bleat about how bad and wasteful we are.
There are some very nasty people out there, I agree that is NO excuse to harass innocents. Our crews work day in day out to try and make YOUR lives safer. We have good success, instead of people bleating, for once I would just love someone to credit us with some positive comments. Bobbies get abuse that you wouldn't believe, the MAJORITY do a great job. The minority are seen acting up on the news and everyone is tarred with the same brush.
When we search for missing persons, we can clear a large open area in minutes, a ground patrol would take hours. So that frees officers for other important tasks.
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Old 14th May 2009, 14:31
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Have I missed something, if the identity of the vandals in 'unknown' how does the currant bun know it was the local Gypsies..?
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Old 14th May 2009, 17:18
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Flap Flap Flap

I have ben a police officer in London for 27 years and a rotary pilot for 5 years. I am not a member of the Met ASU (too tall unfortunately).

In answer to your hypothetical question, from my point of view, these aircraft are worth their weight in gold.

They have on one occasion amost certainly saved my life. Whilst chasing a suspect after a very nasty GBH robbery the chase ended up on a railway line and the chopper crew warned me to get off the line urgently as an itner-city was coming round the bend behind me.

As far as vehicle pursuits are concerned, one of the main advantages of having an aircraft above is not as most people think, to get video footage for forthcoming tv programs, but it allows the following ground units to back off whch not only reduces the danger to the police officers but encourages the bandit vehicle to slow down, thereby reducing the danger to the public.

In these days of increased terroist activity the police helicopters play a large role in making life difficult for the terrorist organisatons in ways that for obvious reasons are kept out of public awareness. I am not even privy to all of the jobs they are called upon to undertake. In fact the role of the police aircraft go far beyond what the public are generally aware and therefore an answer to your question is consequently very difficult to give.

I think it would suffice to say that I think the Air Support Units are a very effective tool for todays police services.

This thread itself oviously shows that the criminal fraternity are concerned about the presence of the aircraft which means their activities are being disrupted by it which can, in my humble opinion, only be a good thing.

These units should not only be accepted but actively supported.

Lord Mount is offline  
Old 14th May 2009, 17:58
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Having worked for years as a police officer in London and Manchester I have yet to even hear of a no go area let alone avoid one .
I know of an incident in Thames Valley. Horse trailer stolen, with the postcode in 24" letters on roof. Owner suspects it's in a local-ish traveller's site, so asks friend with PPL(H) to check it out. Confirmed, so the owner tells the Police. Police tell him to claim on insurance, as they won't enter the site for a 3,000 trailer.
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Old 14th May 2009, 18:17
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Lord Mount - very well put.

As another London copper of 23 years, and as a dog handler, I frequently work in close partnership with the Met ASU and can confirm that they are worth their weight in gold in terms of speed of response and reduction in officer-hours taken to search large areas. As Jayteeto says, the vast majority of these jobs are never made public.

And as far as:
Police tell him to claim on insurance, as they won't enter the site for a 3,000 trailer.
...then I simply don't believe it. If it is even partially true, then the victim of the theft should make a complaint.
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