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-   -   NPAS News 2019 (https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/617024-npas-news-2019-a.html)

airpolice 12th Oct 2018 00:40

NPAS News 2019
As a very interested *outsider* I have to ask this.

With adjustments made for 1998 pounds against 2018 pounds, and ignoring the undeniable loss of capability, has NPAS saved the UK any money? Leave aside central government funding and individual forces managing their own budgets, it all came out of tax raised money, not from shaking the branches of the free money tree.

I have been aware since the early days of this whole NPAS ballaux, that the mission was to reduce spending, regardless of what impact that had on service delivery. Posters on here have been uncharitable, for want of a better, less offensive word, to the managers in NPAS, who have been accused of being out of touch and ignorant of the finer points of Police Air Support. That's sad as I am sure they knew what they were doing was bad, but it was what they got paid to do. (I was only obeying orders!)

Now that we all see the slash and burn process having been enforced, and word from the street is that the Bobby on the ground can no longer count on Air Support, have they got anything right?

Is this new, pared to the bone, not fit for purpose, morale sapping, lumbering ineffective giant Sloth, in the garden of public spending, actually consuming less money than the old system did?

* By way of explanation, I have never been employed by any Police Force, Constabulary or similar Government body. I have never been employed by any company carrying out Police Air Support flying operations. I have never been employed by Babcock, Bond or McAlpine, or similar.. None of that prevented me from flying in the back, and sometimes in the front, on operational trips and experiencing, for a short time, how intense and satisfying the job can be.

Very few people in UK Police Air Support know who I am, even fewer care, but those who do, have seen me watching them at the sharp end of this "business" and they know, as I know, that together, the boys and girls who did this well, did it very well.

I am so old that I even remember Sally breaking her arm holding on to a body that she had captured after jumping out of the aircraft.

One unit closed, when Bond withdrew the aircraft before ops got under way. The guys came back from Observer training to be told that the whole thing was canned.

I was involved with a unit that operated twice, for a total of less than six months, with great enthusiasm and real success. None of which saved them from the bean counters.

I remember a new Unit starting from scratch, in a force with no history of ASU Ops, and buying all new kit, including an AS355 and a very nice building, designed for the unit and really, a state of the art facility.... now disused.

Another unit had a full classroom facility for training Police Observers from all over the country, and were recognised as leaders in the field. Now closed.

A string of UEO Inspectors, each one madder than the guy before. No names, you all know the people, or at least their type.

I've been pissed with Ray & Max, from the Home Office, and listened to them raving about how good the operation was, and how much better it was going to get. All gone.

I'm no longer involved, and to be brutally honest, I am glad I'm out of it. Not only can the system no longer afford me, I'm tool old to work in such a dysfunctional "business" lead by people with no integrity. I miss (some of) the people, and (most of) the money.

How sad would it be if we the public, and the Bobby out there in the dark, have lost this and not actually saved any money in the process?

tigerfish 28th Dec 2018 13:31

The brand new new "Joint facility" for the NPAS Aircraft and The Great Western Air Ambulance unit was completed recently and went live during December. Their previous facilities on the now defunct Filton Airfield are closed, and will be re developed. What has not escaped notice is the fact that the Air Ambulance unit is effectively in ownership of of the new facility, adjacent to the M5/M4 crossing at Almondsbury, South Gloucestershire, with the NPAS unit as their tenant. How things have changed!!


ShyTorque 28th Dec 2018 16:08

Originally Posted by Cabby (Post 10345902)
Haven’t heard much about the new Vulcanair’s at Doncaster for a while.
Not much on their twitter page.

New hangar is ready.

A number of countries appear to be using the P68's for police operations. Whats the hold up in the UK?

The new hangar has been in place for almost 18 months, possibly longer. As far as I can tell the aircraft are still not yet operational although they have been seen flying on quite rare occasions - but possibly only for crew training / currency. I find that surprising and disappointing since the observers must have "previous" from when the UK did have a decent level of air support. A lot of money must have been thrown at this for nil return so far.

tigerfish 28th Dec 2018 17:07

ShyTorque, As I live only half a mile from there, I can assure you that the base has been fully operational for just about the whole of December. I think that the last of my original crew of observers left some time ago. Sadly with their departure I lost most of my contact with the Police side of the operation. However as a District Councillor who's ward abuts the area I still meet up with the GWAAC people frequently, and through various funds support them in other ways.


ShyTorque 28th Dec 2018 18:05


I'm slightly confused. The post I responded to and quoted from is about the Doncaster base and your location says Bristol. However, I'm very pleased to be corrected if the Doncaster base is now fully operational.

MightyGem 28th Dec 2018 20:54

A number of countries appear to be using the P68's for police operations. Whats the hold up in the UK?
I believe that the aircraft wiring wasn't up to the job for the mission equipment.

tigerfish 28th Dec 2018 23:52

ShyTorque! Sorry Pardon! As your post arrived immediately after mine about the Filton Unit, I assumed (Obviously wrongly) that you were talking about that- my old unit at Filton! Wires obviously crossed!


MightyGem 30th Dec 2018 21:36

Other countries donít have NPAS running their Air Support.

tigerfish 31st Dec 2018 00:09

NPAS was merely a Governmental programme to run down UK Policing, which they believed at the time was unnecessary expenditure, and in a modern society was no longer required. We were at peace with not only ourselves, but the world in general. Therefore to spend money on defence, - both internal and external was just wasting money! Air support to the Police was typical of that credo! The Joy rider had been beaten back, new methods of car security had been developed. The criminal mind would never again be a threat! So run down policing and reduce Air Support to just something useful for pre planned events. Crime was a thing the past and no longer needed to be considered!
Who was the Home Secretary who pushed that one through? TM. Who was the Chief Constable, later Met Police Commissioner who majored on that? HH I believe! Who was the Architect of NPAS? AM!
NEVER forget who were responsible for this mess!

I learned at the very start of my career. "Never be kind (Or trust) the Criminal, for to the criminal, kindness is a weakness, and weaknesses are to be exploited". They never understood or countered that problem. They believed that the criminal had been beaten and as a result steadfast Policing was no longer required! History has shown so many times that such attitudes can bring disaster! e.g. England's failure to recognise the rise of Nazi resurgence in the early 1930"s.

Efficient Police Air Support is not a luxury, but a vital exponent of 21st century Policing. Drones too have their use, but must be operated properly by operationally skilled and trained Police staff.


ShyTorque 31st Dec 2018 10:31

Drones too have their use, but must be operated properly by operationally skilled and trained Police staff.
Agreed, they do have their uses - but they usually have to be driven to the scene of an incident and aren't much use for a vehicle pursuit, or for putting a "Nitesun" on a scene.

tigerfish 31st Dec 2018 14:21

Total Agreement there ShyTorque, indeed if I were still running the show (In my Force Area) I would have insisted that the deployment of the drone or the main aviation asset was a matter for the Unit commander to decide the most appropriate response. Problems may well result if the decision is split between two differing commands.


MightyGem 3rd Jan 2019 20:33

Looking for three pilots. First of quite a few over 60s this year.

jayteeto 3rd Jan 2019 21:05

IR required for VFR wages

Thomas coupling 4th Jan 2019 11:00

Jayteeto, agreed: Extracting the Urine springs to mind.

PANews 4th Jan 2019 19:49

Cabby I think you will find that the number of police forces operating the P68 in the police role is very few. Over twenty years ago the Italian Police had quite a few of them. They were standard fixed wing airframes and they were basically hangar queens. The crews preferred to fly the A109A helicopters and polish the P68s.

One German force has a fixed wing P68 and a couple made an appearance with US police but as far as I am aware they have now been retired. Not therefore an illustrious presence in the crime fighting world.

There are probably as many reasons why they were selected for NPAS as there are many reasons why they seem to fail to meet expectations. Technical glitches, performance shortfalls and being a bit tight in the cabin are the items I have heard about. No doubt the failure of NPAS to publish its Strategic Board minutes may be linked to the whole sorry tale. Either way they are not expected to be operational this year.

MightyGem 4th Jan 2019 20:45

IR required for VFR wages
And used very little, if at all, from what I've heard.

MightyGem 4th Jan 2019 21:04

Going to be 10 pilots reaching 60 in the next 18 months is what I've heard.

timex 8th Jan 2019 07:46

I was told recently that itís almost double that number, not including others who are unhappy and may be jumping ship..

helimutt 8th Jan 2019 10:52

ATPL,IR,MULTI,P1 EXPERIENCE, and they're paying £55k? :D :ouch:

PANews 8th Jan 2019 16:43

It would appear that the pilots of NPAS are in for a bit of retraining.

Yesterday in the House of Lords it was stated that helicopters are to be used to throw nets at drones.....

There was a lengthy discussion on drones and Gatwick and Baroness Sugg was apparently giving the skewed government view on the subject...... Bit of a House of Horrors of course..... as we know aircraft and helicopters prefer to land in the presence of drones but here we are with a Suggestion that includes nets .......tail rotors get together so well with stray bits of rope in the air.... mind blowing stuff.

Drones: Consultation Response - Statement (7 Jan 2019)


Baroness Sugg: ...is the need for a proper, layered response to incidents such as this. We have physical mitigations such as nets, which can be launched either from the ground up to a certain height or from a
helicopter if at a higher height, but obviously that can be effective only if it is in the vicinity of the drone. The other things that we need are protection and tracing in order to ensure that we are...

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