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J.A.F.O. 1st Jan 2021 12:01

NPAS News 2021
 
Happy New Year everyone and many thanks to Bryn Elliott PANews for saying what many have thought for years - in some cases before NPAS was even created.

PAN January

tigerfish 1st Jan 2021 12:20


Originally Posted by J.A.F.O. (Post 10958405)
Happy New Year everyone and many thanks to Bryn Elliott PANews for saying what many have thought for years - in some cases before NPAS was even created.

PAN January

I totally agree too. I even lost my job for predicting this.

TF

MAN777 1st Jan 2021 12:50

Agreed

I dont understand in what is supposed to be a democratic and transparent country how such an organisation can get away with such behavior with what appears to be operational and financial irresponsibility which has decimated a chain of proud units providing a fantastic service to the guys on the ground.



MAN777 1st Jan 2021 13:47

NPAS was sold to me years ago as an organisation that could pool training, staff, equipment and have more purchasing power. The goal being to make air support more efficient, save costs and provide a better service to the Police forces around the country. It appears to have failed on the majority of these goals.

Put an end to this organisation and give control back to the actual users, bring the birds home.

ShyTorque 1st Jan 2021 14:31

The two questions that need a truthful answer:

Has NPAS provided a more effective service than the previous system?

Has it done so for less financial outlay?

Sadly both are rhetorical. It’s a scandal which ought to be made more public.

tigerfish 1st Jan 2021 16:46

The concept of a National Police Air Wing was sound. It could have standardised training, fuel purchases maintenance contracts and everything else. But it needed to be organised and delivered on a Regional basis. Instead its only mantra was slash and burn, decimate the fleet!

Instead of being a rapid response tool to operational Policing, it was deliberately hamstrung. Aircraft had so far to fly to get to any incident they were always going to be too late and short of fuel.

We all knew that but would they listen? **********!!!

TF

Bravo73 1st Jan 2021 19:23


Originally Posted by ShyTorque (Post 10958511)
Itís a scandal which ought to be made more public.

Have Private Eye covered the issue in detail yet?

MightyGem 1st Jan 2021 22:06

AS JAFO said, many of us in Police Aviation at the time had many reservations as to whether the NPAS concept would work. Time has been proving us right for some time now.

I used to fly for Merseyside at Woodvale. I was told a few months ago that NPAS had made enquires with the RAF about moving back. You couldn't make it up.


Itís a scandal which ought to be made more public.
I tried to interest the Daily Mail in the story 3 years ago but they replied that they were:

inundated with feature ideas and proposals and the Features Editor is unable to use yours.

ShyTorque 1st Jan 2021 22:32

Unfortunately there is no chance of the unit that I flew for moving back. The entire accommodation, newly built in 1998, has been completely bulldozed.

tigerfish 2nd Jan 2021 19:10

Personally I blame Hogan Howe and Theresa May,
From the moment they got involved it was ONLY about trying to save shed loads of money, and the Concept of operational Police Air Support went right out the window .
From being World leaders in 2008 we were at the bottom of the pile by 2014. And have got steadily worse ever since.

TF

RichiePAO 4th Jan 2021 20:35

The Base at RAF Henlow is I believe vacant....

Fortyodd2 4th Jan 2021 22:16


Originally Posted by RichiePAO (Post 10960606)
The Base at RAF Henlow is I believe vacant....

Is that the former RAF Henlow that's about to be a large housing estate??

RotaryJ 5th Jan 2021 13:19

I think so... Such a shame too, Henlow and Benson Units were amazing units and reflected what a good collaborated helicopter service should be like! Seems like NPAS never learnt anything...

bell222 6th Jan 2021 22:49

Just read on Twitter that g-dcpb based at Exeter is going to London, I thought the reason they had a bigger a/c was that they cover a vast area including scilly isles etc also to transport specialist teams & casevacs !!!!!

PANews 7th Jan 2021 00:16

Unless you have heard that it is permanent it may not be an issue. This has happened several times before.

There are insufficient airframes for Oxford to keep three on-line at the two locations ..... they are far more difficult to maintain than the EC135 and for a long time the Lippitts Hill fleet were supported by a 135 for the same reason. That was regularised by the move of the Essex aircraft to Lippitts Hill and then all the fleet to North Weald.

It all underlines just how well the stand-alone maintenance organisation at Lippitts Hill operated. They knew their aircraft and repaired them on demand. Yes they were sometimes all offline [and sometimes deliberately offline] but equally they were able to put 3 145s on line for special events. That, I would venture, simply does not happen now.


TripleTacho 8th Jan 2021 13:12


Originally Posted by MAN777 (Post 10958483)
NPAS was sold to me years ago as an organisation that could pool training, staff, equipment and have more purchasing power. The goal being to make air support more efficient, save costs and provide a better service to the Police forces around the country. It appears to have failed on the majority of these goals.

Put an end to this organisation and give control back to the actual users, bring the birds home.

A repeated opinion over the past 9 years - "it was better when forces had their own aircraft". One question that springs from this though is which forces would actually be able to afford having their own aircraft again? Apart from the Met, GMP and West Mids, who out of those 32 / 33 Forces who had ASUs would fund it now. NPAS gets a lot of negative press but at least there is still a service to the vast majority of forces. I think without NPAS warts and all, the reality is the majority of ASUs would have been closed by chief constables and aircraft sold by now.

PANews 8th Jan 2021 14:58

I do 'worry' when people invent a new identity for themselves to pose a question. But, that aside....

You are quite right. We were always aware that, particularly under Home Secretary Teresa May, ordinary UK police aviation was on he cusp of expiring [good through it was] simply due to the lack of money. And that is why it was generally welcomed as the saviour organisation.

This was a little ahead of the small and capable drone... Love them or hate them the drone has produced another option for air support for smaller police organisations. Even if they are also producing their own problems. Forces are creating organisations in house that take them from being just another tool in the box to being a department of their own. Create a department and it has to have a sergeant, and inspector and maybe a superintendent [mostly just pen pushers] to oversee it and it ends up having a staff that are taken off the streets sitting there waiting for a call [just like air support]. So not perfect.

And that's what happened with NPAS its head grew bigger than the body. It ended up sucking the life out of the mission.

A lot will end up with nothing but they will have their drones and hopefully when the 'big wheel' comes off there will be resources elsewhere that can provide a manned air support mission for the significant emergencies. In the NPAS game plan that is what the fixed wing were supposed to be .... but something has gone wrong there that we do not yet know about that has reduced the projected fleet of 6 to 4 four delivered and now to 2 operated and soon to one...

All we need now is for Ted Rogers to introduce Dusty Bin to keep all the parts of the various forward planning scripts in... (sorry if you are too young to remember Ted)...




MightyGem 9th Jan 2021 18:20

Just heard that the crews at Carr Gate are being reduced by 50% in order to help pay for the fixed wing. :mad:

MightyGem 9th Jan 2021 20:34

Apparently, the only Forces willing to pay for a FW are Humberside and S. Yorks.

RotaryJ 9th Jan 2021 22:21

Yet again more idiocy from NPAS HQ, Carr Gate are more beneficial than Doncaster. Quicker launch times, No Taxiing around an airport, Hovering and Deplane abilities, Better availability and more reliable... the list is endless.

I did witness that Doncaster are becoming a 24hr asset at some point this year, I am going to guess probably May-June time as there is 3 Fixed Wing Pilot Positions there which all have a start date of May. But reducing one base and then making another 24hr seems stupid to me. The most logical thing to do is ditch the damn planes and look into a Rotary Fleet replacement programme! :*

PANews 10th Jan 2021 09:33

I heard the Carr Gate thing slightly differently in that they were planned for downsizing a while back. Someone found an 'old' report on line [on the internal system] that mentioned a Carr Gate downsize. There was also mention of the helicopter going to Doncaster. As a result staff that could not get to Doncaster from their homes bailed out of air support [or moved bases]. So that when the plan was was eventually queried and discounted by management officers had already gone and a new tranche of officers needed to be recruited to fill the resultant gaps to take the base up to 24/7 capable.

A new plan [the most recent] emerged that sought cut the hours of Carr Gate and other places which means that Carr Gate now has too many TFOs for it needs.

Just ongoing confusion of plans that appears to be wasting money in training up new people unnecessarily.

If Carr Gate were to move to Doncaster to fill the yawning space there it would compound the cost issues.

Why would you give up an existing, bought and paid for, base on your own land at Carr Gate [the site houses many other police departments] to simply fill space within a hangar at Doncaster airport where you have to pay ongoing rent and rates etc at International Airport numbers? Moving the remains of fixed wing [whatever that is] elsewhere makes more sense. As I said confusion.

There is nothing wrong with fixed wing but it is a different mission profile to helicopters [and drones].


MightyGem 11th Jan 2021 11:21


But reducing one base and then making another 24hr seems stupid to me.
Not just the one base. It seems that a number of bases are reducing to a single 12 hour shift.

J.A.F.O. 12th Jan 2021 08:03

They say that if you could give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters then, eventually, they would produce the complete works of Shakespeare.

Give one monkey a typewriter for half an hour and he'd come up with a better plan for NPAS than they've managed in the last 9 years.

MightyGem 12th Jan 2021 20:29

I don't know if any of you ventured beyond Bryn's comments in January's PAN. I didn't initially until my attention was drawn to an article by David Howell who served as(I think) the UEO of Central Counties ASU and Base Manager for the Met. I think he may be here on PPrune as well. Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite.

http://www.policeaviationnews.com/Ac...anuary2021.pdf

The decision to move the Lippitts Hill base was made several years ago, but why was it made? It was made by a Chief Operating Officer who was intent solely on removing any organisational influence from The Met and was based on personal biases created over many years, some of which were actually spent working within the Met itself.

There was also an unhealthy desire for the then Chief Operating Of- ficer of NPAS to succeed, having failed the Senior Police National Assessment Centre (PNAC).

I for one went through several sessions of counselling to get over a 2 hour ‘non-disciplinary and welfare’ meeting after I dared to question and suggest an alternative plan to his non-sensical restructuring of base managers’ duties.

Ruffles 12th Jan 2021 20:46

Picking up on Mighty Gem’s mention of the decision to leave Lippitts Hill. I understood that the departure from Lippitts Hill was because the MPS gave NPAS notice to vacate i.e. it wasn’t NPAS that triggered the move. I would have thought that David Howell was more than aware of this? Or is there another side to the story?

PANews 13th Jan 2021 08:34

Hello Ruffles,

Its a timescale thing. The original move from Lippitts Hill to North Weald was precipitated by NPAS and may arguably be placed at the feet of the COO. That was the several years ago DH mentioned.

The Lippitts Site was relatively expensive [rental/lease] but what is being suggested is that the prime mover was breaking the bond between the Met and the NPAS unit - force jealousy.

Lippitts has been in use as a Met helicopter base full time for over forty years [53 on and off if you include the army trials] and remains firmly Met Territory even though a border move actually placed it in Essex Police area since 2000.

You are correct that the Met have/will/might [it has not happened yet] precipitate the return to Lippitts Hill and the site has been maintained ready to accept them on that basis. Whether the immediate neighbours will scupper that - they have had many noise free months - and whether the recently reported move of the Exeter EC145 to North Weald is a bargaining chip only time will tell.

The only problem with being a 'fly on the wall' in this situation is that you probably also need to be on many walls at the same time in this zoom age!

Sky Sports 13th Jan 2021 18:04


the site has been maintained ready to accept them
Not the case. The site was falling apart before the move out, (one hangar out of action due to folding doors not working) and not a penny has been spent on it since.

Cabby 14th Jan 2021 20:46

Helicopters, planes and drones.
 
The NPAS social media pages mention that their planes have been very busy over the last few months visiting various force areas.

With regards to the earlier drone comments, how many forces have their own drone units?

Do those with drones pay as much for NPAS as other forces who don't use drones?

MightyGem 15th Jan 2021 19:51


Originally Posted by Cabby (Post 10967995)
Do those with drones pay as much for NPAS as other forces who don't use drones?

Forces pay NPAS for the time that the helicopter spends on "Actioned Calls": ie overhead a task. Doesn't matter whether they are using a drone for other jobs, their use of drones doesn't affect what they pay NPAS.

Cabby 17th Jan 2021 20:28


Originally Posted by MightyGem (Post 10968587)
Forces pay NPAS for the time that the helicopter spends on "Actioned Calls": ie overhead a task. Doesn't matter whether they are using a drone for other jobs, their use of drones doesn't affect what they pay NPAS.

Thanks for the answer :ok:

PANews 17th Jan 2021 22:53

So, it appears that NPAS are moving the single EC145 from Exeter to London permanently leaving the western parts of Cornwall without long range air support [which is why the BK117C1 and then the EC145 were bought in the first place]..

Unfortunately it appears that the timing appears a little disjointed [no surprise there then] as there is a need for at least a couple of EC145s to be in Cornwall in June.

Details of the planning are coming out that there is to be an international G7 meeting in mid-June near St. Ives. That will require NPAS resources to be down at Newquay Airport/RAF St, Mawgan at the same time.

Planning?

Thud_and_Blunder 18th Jan 2021 22:38

I don't know that the move from Exeter would make much difference to Police air support in Cornwall - historically, police officers there were wont to refer to the "Devon Police Helicopter", while officers in west and south Devon referred to the "Exeter Police Helicopter". Plenty of instances of the aircraft not being available for operational tasks because the crew were needed for a visit - or IR renewals - or whatever. I certainly flew once from Wilts to Okehampton to assist with a murder investigation one night (called off as we got to within 5nm), and also remember being tasked from Brum on another night (stood down before we'd left Brum CTR). Later, when flying air ambulance in the county, a policeman I'd known in a former employ told me that their traffic officers working the motorway had no SOP for using the heli (other forces I'd worked with would only conduct a motorway pursuit or stop under the watch of the aircraft) as they knew it would rarely/never be available - despite Middlemoor's perfect position next to the M5/ANPR locations.

PANews 19th Jan 2021 12:24


Originally Posted by Thud_and_Blunder (Post 10970766)
I don't know that the move from Exeter would make much difference to Police air support in Cornwall - historically, police officers there were wont to refer to the "Devon Police Helicopter", while officers in west and south Devon referred to the "Exeter Police Helicopter". Plenty of instances of the aircraft not being available for operational tasks because the crew were needed for a visit - or IR renewals - or whatever. I certainly flew once from Wilts to Okehampton to assist with a murder investigation one night (called off as we got to within 5nm), and also remember being tasked from Brum on another night (stood down before we'd left Brum CTR). Later, when flying air ambulance in the county, a policeman I'd known in a former employ told me that their traffic officers working the motorway had no SOP for using the heli (other forces I'd worked with would only conduct a motorway pursuit or stop under the watch of the aircraft) as they knew it would rarely/never be available - despite Middlemoor's perfect position next to the M5/ANPR locations.

I accept all you say.

Taking police air support overall you could easily write it off with such observations.

Policing is a 24/7/365 requirement and, except in some rare circumstances, police air support does not, cannot, meet that exacting requirement. Weather alone stops such aspirations in its tracks, that added to maintenance, pilot and crew availability and a myriad of other difficulties suggests that it is a waste of time.

However, as a past user of police air support, I can counter that with a belief that with all its failings on a clear day/night there is nothing better than the availability of an aircraft in support of humble work on the ground. The peace of mind is worth a million £/$/Yen.... On the no aircraft days you just get on with the job as you might have had to for the last 200 years.

After 9 years of effort it appears clear that the national police aircraft organisation is making all the same mistakes that others thought they had pretty much ironed out, and making them time and time again. The Exeter aircraft is just one symptom of the malaise. There are too many symptoms. Notwithstanding the standard availability drawbacks of air support we might expect for the right type of aircraft to be assigned to a given area. Someone thought about BK117/EC145 for Devon & Cornwall and EC145 for London [even if some think they were wrong].

The organisation has not apparently entered into a new rotary aircraft requirement in nine years. They do though have a fine selection of high quality but largely empty Rubb Hangars and other peripheral equipment that they seemingly now think were a waste of resources.

The one aircraft type they appear to have blundered on with, the fixed wing, now appears to have fallen from their favour despite not being utilised to any great extent. How much they have cost is a closely guarded secret but the estimates I have heard for this fleet of two operational aircraft is about equal to being able to buy 2-3 new helicopters. Undoubtedly a much greater number of used low hour airframes could have been an option along the way.




richardthethird 19th Jan 2021 15:10

Yet they continue to advertise for fixed wing pilots... How have they managed not to fill such few positions, especially in the current employment climate?

jayteeto 19th Jan 2021 16:03

Richard, it all depends on contracts and T&Cs
What are the “handcuffs” like?

N707ZS 22nd Feb 2021 08:34

Hope this is the right place to ask. I believe we bought four P68s and based them at Doncaster. These days in the house I have noticed that they rarely fly two at once and POLZ never seems to fly at all. Is there a reason.

chopper2004 22nd Feb 2021 10:52

And a temp facility (if itís still there) for Covid deceased ...

cheers

chopper2004 22nd Feb 2021 10:55


Originally Posted by N707ZS (Post 10995205)
Hope this is the right place to ask. I believe we bought four P68s and based them at Doncaster. These days in the house I have noticed that they rarely fly two at once and POLZ never seems to fly at all. Is there a reason.

Supposed to be assigned to our neighborhood (Cambs) and have been seen funnily operating over Cottenhamó Ely to response last summer.

cheers

Shackman 7th Mar 2021 15:00

An actual sighting of POLW over here in W Midlands. Does it come here often?

MightyGem 7th Mar 2021 20:10

Meanwhile, it's musical helicopters here in the North West. Hawarden's is going to Bournemouth, Bournmouth's to Barton and Barton's to Hawarden. It's enough to make you dizzy. There is some method in it though. It puts the 135Ps and 135Ts in their own areas and Barton's 135 is going to Hawarden as it has less hours on it and Hawarden is going down to a single 12 hour shift in the summer.

Other news. It seem s that West Yorks are losing control of the aviation aspects of NPAS and are just retaining the central tasking.

And there is still no sign of the 2018/19 Annual Report on the NPAS website. It's time for the 2019/20 report as well.


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