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UK NPAS - The Decline

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UK NPAS - The Decline

Old 11th Jul 2015, 13:27
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On the brighter side...

I get frustrated by the negativity on here and will attempt some reasoning...

5 years ago, we had a thriving Police air support service with 33 bases UK wide

Then NPAS was created (and more importantly MASSIVE financial cuts to Policing by the tories) so we now have just 23 bases and a reduced service to what we had previously.

These cuts would have happened regardless of NPAS and base closures were likely to occur anyway.

This year, further cuts to Policing have been announced and the forces nationwide voted for a further reduction of 14% to air support. NPAS has achieved these savings by opting for a new 15 base 24 hr model with the introduction of some fixed wings (if they happen)

Clearly going from 33 bases down to 15 is going to be massively detrimental. Longer transit times / response times, less aircraft availability as they are all committed elsewhere, more strain to airframes, pilots, staff.

The last five years has seen a huge deterioration to UK air support. But is it NPAS to blame? or the root cause (huge over the top budget cuts from the tories)

OK I wont go as far to say that NPAS is perfect, far from it. But I think it is unfair to place all the blame onto NPAS.


Now rather than berate NPAS and pick on all the negatives, why not point out some improvements since NPAS?

- Borderless policing has definitely improved under NPAS. Never before have UK helicopters been so available to different forces, relatively promptly.

- We now have a nationwide downlink service and any aircraft can transmit images to any force now.

- The home office are working on a 4G voice/data network for UK aircraft and NPAS are a major voice now in how that will be set up - Pre NPAS, with individual bases, I doubt we would have had anywhere near the input NPAS have had in this.

- Sirocco. Although some negativity has been shown towards Sirocco, I totally disagree. I think it is an awesome system. Never before have all UK Police air support bases been able to share problems, issues, and have access to the system from any computer 24/7. If a problem occurs up north, the bases down south see the report as soon as its posted. The comments that NPAS prevent pilots / TFO's from reporting problems are unfounded imo. In fact, people have been praised by management on sirocco for reporting issues openly.


Yes, we have a worse service than before, but so does the entire Police service (and NHS, Teachers...)

Rather than pick on the bad points, let's embrace the good bits. those of us still working in the system still have some voice in where we go from here... maybe i'm a glass half full guy?

(insert outraged response towards woowooneenor here!!!!)
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Old 11th Jul 2015, 14:25
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Clearly going from 33 bases down to 15 is going to be massively detrimental. Longer transit times / response times, less aircraft availability as they are all committed elsewhere, more strain to airframes, pilots, staff.
Borderless policing has definitely improved under NPAS. Never before have UK helicopters been so available to different forces, relatively promptly.
These two paragraphs seem totally contradictory.

But there is little point in having a helicopter declared available to other forces if it cannnot get there and efficiently and rapidly complete a task. Apart from it being a smoke and mirrors trick to please the bean counters, of course....
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Old 11th Jul 2015, 14:29
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Romeopapa, I don't know you, but your attitude really really stinks.
So pilots are hired hands to taxi the TFOs around?? You must have great CRM on your base. I only did 6 years in Police Aviation, but we operated as a crew and had great success doing so. The nice Mr Hogan-Howe even gave me a couple of commendations for my contributions.
We were part of the team, think about that when you slag the drivers off. One part of being on that team was to have an input into making the service better, we were 'on the pulse' and could give valuable input. This of course could be rejected by senior officers, but I will tell you one thing........... They listened to what you had to say before making decisions, good or bad. You just dismiss comments as ex wallop nco whinging. My senior pilot was an ex wallop nco and he was one of the best people I have ever worked for. Quite simply, the unit would not have survived without him.
NPAS will work, because that is how things will be. It doesn't and shouldn't stop people talking about what could or should be done better. This is council taxpayers money, they deserve and expect to get value for money. You cannot live under the umberella of 'we know what you need, so shut up and let us do as we wish'. In the 21st century EVERYTHING is accountable and as public servants you should be open to audit by the public you serve.
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Old 11th Jul 2015, 14:34
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if NPAS wasn't created, its likely that approx 10 bases would have shut anyway. That would have meant no air support at all available to those forces.

At least under NPAS, some form of air support is still available - albeit it slower to arrive than previously.

My point was that borderless policing now exists, where it didn't before. Previously, Surrey for example would ask for an aircraft and if it was busy or offline, then nothing was available. Now if that's the case, NPAS can utilise Bournemouth, Benson, Lippits, Boreham...

London used to only have their own aircraft, but now surrounding choppers are covering plenty of jobs - Some will say thats a bad thing, but that's subjective. The bottom line is, if there's a task that warrants a helicopter, there's more likelyhood of getting one with borderless policing.
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Old 11th Jul 2015, 17:53
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WWNN - You estimate that 10 bases would have closed if NPAS had not been created; so, how many will close under NPAS?

Could you explain why the counties without access to their own air support would not have been able to enter into agreements with neighbouring counties as had been the case for decades prior to NPAS? Borderless policing was not created in 2012.

On your point of cuts by this and the previous government, I think you'll find that was necessary due to profligate and negligent overspending by the Labour administrations that preceded them.
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Old 11th Jul 2015, 21:55
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Let's get a few facts clear here.

Using a helicopter to take part in a stolen car chase does not make sense.

If you look at all those Police Action programmes they have taken it to joke level with police officers given nicknames.

A stolen car is an insurance issue not a police game.

Give the force toys and they will use them while at the same time not recognising the cost.

Each hour in the air is a few old fashioned policemen on the beat for a month.

Sure a few people here have issues because police aviation is a nice cushy number.

They want to keep sitting in that easy chair.

But the truth is just like those freeview channels filling time is the reality of NPAS.

90% boredom.

The boss needs to give stern warnings to the drivers ASAP
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Old 11th Jul 2015, 22:12
  #67 (permalink)  

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Let's get a few facts clear here.
From what you have written, your total experience of police aviation consists of watching TV programmes. Your subsequent supposition certainly doesn't count as "facts".
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 00:08
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There are issues best not discussed here.

I am not happy with some of the vitriol pumped out by a certain person at a personal level.(multi identity) It can be construed as cyber stalking which I am still considering filing a complaint.

Frankly I feel that NPAS employees should not be discussing their employer here. I am sure you are all aware of the rules.

I am not going to post anymore but am lodging a complaint to head of NPAS and senior police level in London.

Can I ask mods to close this thread?
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 01:12
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You can ask.


You can also just stop reading.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 01:24
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Better still I ask head of a NPAS for his views and rules.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 01:29
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Get a grip!

This is the Internet, it's for entertainment.

Work is what people get paid for, this is different.


You are of course allowed to take up your issues with which ever boss you think most suited. They don't need to take you seriously.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 02:55
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I started this thread as a catch all primarily to hold links that might be of interest to stories relating to NPAS and also to resolve a couple of unresolved questions left hanging from the demise of the last thread.

We now know that NPAS staff have been advised to restrict comments to official channels rather than contribute to PPRuNe, and quite rightly so.

The service is doing as well as can be expected with reduced resources. An official NPAS web page gives details of deployments and other activities that are deemed appropriate for publication.

Rather than using the thread to score personal points, perhaps posters would be kind enough to restrict entries to stories of interest relating to NPAS that may have been overlooked by the press or be of significant interest but not necessarily sanctioned by NPAS management.

Thank you.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 07:11
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You can also just stop reading.
... and Posting !

Then maybe we can get back to the matter at hand -
discussing "The Decline of NPAS".

Nail
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 09:18
  #74 (permalink)  

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I am rather intrigued by someone stating their location as "Asia Pacific" having such a strong opinion on a discussion about the Police force in the UK.Not only that, but unjustly criticising those in the role with concerns based on actual first hand experience.

NPAS is a sound idea and imho should have been the way things were done at the beginning. But fewer airframes/units covering the same area can never provide the same service as before.

Last edited by ShyTorque; 12th Jul 2015 at 09:33.
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Old 12th Jul 2015, 10:15
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A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing when mixed with an active imagination. Lots of assuming in certain peoples posts just makes them look stupid and irrelevant even if they then make a valid point it will be dismissed as tripe due to previous bo££ox posted.

If the cap fits,etc etc etc
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Old 13th Jul 2015, 19:56
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Romeo papa.
You are not, nor ever have been a police pilot. Worse still - much much worse - you are/have been a police pilot.
The bottom line is that your strategy saddens me. It is ALWAYS healthy to question everything going on around you, that is the beauty and pleasure of living in this democtratic world. For - without that we would not flourish.
NPAS need this sort of feedback to keep them on their toes. I know each of their SLT you do not and never have known them.

They do their best with what they have. They, too are reeling from the cut backs but the CS who runs them is dilligent and conscientious. What more can one ask of anyone. Stop crying wolf and man up. Enjoy the cut and thrust this thread provides.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 19:40
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Nice to see our money is being well spent.

Did aerial photo of Michael McIntyre break privacy rules? - BBC News

BBC story about celebrity photo being tweeted after apparently being taken from a police helicopter flying above London.
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 20:26
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"Whilst on tasking in central London this morning we spotted
a certain energetic funny man... Can you guess who?..."
It does beg the question - What was the "Tasking" they were on ?

Maybe they'd had reports of Celebrities being harassed / stalked in that area,
in which case monitoring the goings on might have been justified
but by posting the Photo on Twatter with those comments,
they don't seem to have done themselves any favours

Nail
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Old 15th Jul 2015, 20:40
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Chaps, can I ask, regarding NPAS recruitment that I'm told is underway, how many pilots are you looking for? I think I've missed the boat this time but is it fair to say that it will remain an ongoing opportunity from now on or will it close and reopen as required?
RTL
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Old 18th Jul 2015, 00:46
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GOULI - "I started this thread as a catch all primarily to hold links that might be of interest to stories relating to NPAS and also to resolve a couple of unresolved questions left hanging from the demise of the last thread".


No you didn't. You started this thread to knock NPAS. As the OP, the title shows where you are coming from and it encourages others of your ilk.
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