West Yorkshire Police

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Latest NPAS News

Tuesday, 3rd June, 2014

New Investment in NPAS Fleet

Brand new state-of-the-art camera and mission system equipment is being installed across a third of the National Police Air Service Fleet.

The new equipment integrates a new high end camera with mission planning and mapping systems while retaining existing airframes with plenty of service life left. 

This enhancement will allow these aircraft to continue to provide valuable service to the communities NPAS serves.

Some elements of the 22 helicopters in the fleet already have modern equipment but seven of the older aircraft required an upgrade or replacement. Following detailed investigation and engagement with industry, the upgrade route provided the best value for money.  This multi-million pound investment will keep NPAS at the forefront of Police Aviation and maximise the use of assets that put criminals on the back foot and provide a very important role in supporting front-line policing.

The NPAS Accountable Manager, Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, said:
“Cameras, searchlights and mission planning equipment are key and integral parts of all police helicopters. We have all seen the power of them in helping to find people on the ground and all of our helicopters are optimised to provide this capability.”

“As part of our drive to ensure that the communities we serve are safer and feel safer we recognised that some NPAS aircraft were worthy of improvement. It is important that we move with the technology as it improves and advances and we are investing this money to ensure all of our aircraft have the best and most appropriate technology available to support officers on the ground.”

“The new camera and searchlight systems are integrated to be able to interact with other technology in the helicopter. This is not just about putting a new camera in an aircraft. It is an entire mission system upgrade with the different parts able to work together or in isolation providing a slick and efficient service delivery.”

“Value for money for the taxpayer was also a very important part in our decision making,” added Chief Superintendent Whitehouse.

“The tendering process was lengthy and we looked at what we specifically needed as part of the package.  The team who worked on this programme and provided their expertise have worked tirelessly to ensure this meets our needs and I wish to thank them for all their hard work and effort. Operating a significant fleet of Airbus Helicopters EC135s means that we know what works for us in policing and these modifications have been tailored to our needs.”

“The investment is between £5m and £10m and has been awarded to Bond Helicopters Europe.  We had many suppliers who submitted bids through our procurement team and I look forward to continuing to work with industry providers to ensure NPAS is recognised as a world leader in Police Aviation.”

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson is the Chair of the NPAS National Strategic Board and said:

“In a time of unprecedented cuts to policing, I am fully committed to achieving value for money, not just for West Yorkshire, but across the country.

“This latest agreement will ensure that the NPAS fleet continues to provide the best possible service to the public through the latest standards in aircraft technology.

“By harnessing innovation in the sector, we can continue to bring about genuine benefits to front line policing and all at a lower cost.”

Director of Design and Completion at Bond Helicopters Europe, Jeremy Liber, said: “This is a complex upgrade, but our experienced team took an innovative approach to designing and integrating the very best mission systems, which we believe will make a real difference to the helicopters’ crime-fighting capabilities.

“We are looking forward to working with NPAS to deliver seven world-class police air assets, supported into the future.”

 

Thursday, 9th January, 2014

A man from Flintshire in North Wales has been sentenced to 5 months (suspended), and ordered to carry out 200 hours community service after he shone a laser pen at a police helicopter.

Kevin Griffiths, 22, of Queens Road, Greenfield, appeared at Mold Magistrates Court on Thursday 9 January and admitted recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft / person in an aircraft.

The incident happened on Wednesday 25th September 2013 at Greenfield, as a National Police Air Service aircraft (NPAS 24) was searching for a high risk missing person.

During the search, the aircraft was persistently targeted by a laser pen, causing the crew to divert their attention away from the vital search for the missing person, endangering the crew of the aircraft and putting people’s lives at risk.

Laser pen being pointed at aircraft
Laser pen being pointed at aircraft

The aircraft located the source of the attack and ground based officers dealt with Griffiths. He had shone the laser pen from hit bedroom window and the incident was recorded. The missing person was subsequently located thanks to the efforts of the aircrew and officers on the ground

The NPAS Accountable Manager Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, said:

"NPAS aircraft perform vital police tasks and their work can save lives and numerous hours of valuable police time.

"When dealing with missing and vulnerable people time can be of critical importance - shining a laser pen at an aircraft not only puts the pilot and the crew in danger but it can also delay the helicopter which may result in serious injury or even the loss of life.

“What Griffiths did was stupid and reckless. We will deal robustly with anyone who uses lasers and puts lives at risk and we have the necessary technology to be able to identify people involved. We will and do take firm action against offenders and put them before the courts.

“Such offences hold a potential five year custodial sentence and/or a significant fine. People must therefore realise the devastating effects on all involved.

“What might seem like a game will result in them getting a criminal record. Real people’s lives are at risk – this is not some kind of computer game.”

Under the National Collaboration Agreement for NPAS, West Yorkshire Police is the lead force and is responsible for the delivery of the service including the centralised aircraft despatch centre based in West Yorkshire.
 

Thursday, 12th December, 2013

Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, National Police Air Service Chief Operating Officer, said:

"Safety is the number one priority for the National Police Air Service (NPAS). Our decision on whether or not to suspend operations or ground any NPAS aircraft is based on advice issued by the Civil Aviation Authority - the UK's aviation regulator and original equipment manufacturers. We remain, as ever, in constant communication with the CAA and other partners in the aviation industry. There is currently no notice in place from the CAA or the original equipment manufacturers to ground any aircraft and so we have not done so. If such a notice is put in place then we would immediately and carefully consider it.

“In light of the technical issue identified by Bond Air Services, as a precautionary measure, we are increasing fuel levels on all NPAS EC135 aircraft and increasing the minimum level of fuel which pilots are allowed to operate on.

“The investigation into the Glasgow incident remains ongoing and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further on that incident or speculate on any connections.”

Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire and the chair of the strategic board for the National Police Air Service, (NPAS), has just addressed the board this afternoon.

“We have had a report from the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Mark Gilmore, about the early information to come from the Glasgow incident at this meeting and I have reiterated that the safety, both of NPAS staff and members of our community is our paramount consideration,” he said.

“Both the Chief Constable and Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, the accountable manager of NPAS, have assured the board that all relevant risks have been identified at this stage and all appropriate operational measures have been taken.”
 

Wednesday, 2nd October, 2013

Forces in the Central region join the National Police Air Service

Today, (Wednesday, October 2nd), Police forces in the Central region (Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands) join the National Police Air Service (NPAS).  This is the fifth phase of implementation since the launch of NPAS on 1st October 2012.

The focus of NPAS is to deliver a more cost effective service, balancing the need to save money in a challenging economic environment against the need to ensure the police have a quickly deployable asset that can be used to tackle crime and protect the public. 

Responding to the findings of a comprehensive review commissioned in 2009, all Chief Constables and individual Police Authorities approved the central recommendation to replace the previous air support system with a national service, regionally coordinated for local delivery.

NPAS illustrates how the police are pro-actively moving towards a national, co-ordinated way of working and is delivered under the first national Collaboration Agreement between policing bodies in England and Wales. Through collaborative working, the police are able to provide capability from the air that maximises the delivery of frontline public services, but with a lower cost than services procured and managed on a local basis.

NPAS operates under a lead force model through West Yorkshire Police.  This ensures that NPAS is led and owned by the police and delivers the operational benefits and financial savings that have been presented to individual police bodies.

Once all forces join NPAS, there will be 25 aircraft based at 23 strategic locations across England and Wales. Operations will be achieved through borderless tasking and making use of the nearest available aircraft through the central Despatch and Flight Monitoring service in Bradford, West Yorkshire. NPAS will deliver a service with an aircraft available 24 hours a day and is supported by 3 reserve aircraft when aircraft are offline for scheduled maintenance to minimise reduction in service.

Since the launch of NPAS there have been many successful air operations and the benefits of NPAS are already being realised.  As a result of borderless tasking and due to more informed tasking, NPAS is already seeing a 10% reduction in the number of flying hours used by forces. There has also been increased aircraft availability under NPAS as reserve aircraft have been utilised during times of scheduled maintenance and in support of large policing operations. 

National Policing Lead for Aviation, Chief Constable Alex Marshall said, “I am delighted that forces in the Central region join NPAS today, a service that will provide efficient and effective air support for the public of England and Wales. Police forces in the Central region have already seen the significant benefits that borderless tasking can bring to police operations in the region.  NPAS will build upon the good work that has been achieved by forces and provide an enhanced operational service that will protect the public and deliver savings.” 

ENDS

Notes for Editors:
- Dyfed-Powys, Gwent, South Wales and Humberside Police are committed to joining NPAS and their joining dates are expected to be agreed shortly. 

- Wiltshire Police will join NPAS in January 2015 due to current contractual obligations that they hold.

- NPAS is delivered under the first National Collaboration Agreement made under Section 22 of the Police Act 1996 (as amended) between the policing bodies and forces of England and Wales.


3rd July 2013

Forces in the South West join the National Police Air Service

Today, (Wednesday, July 3rd), Avon & Somerset, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset and Gloucestershire Police join the National Police Air Service (NPAS).  This is the fourth phase of implementation since the launch of NPAS on 1st October 2012. The remaining police forces in England and Wales will join NPAS by January 2015.

The focus of NPAS is to deliver a more cost effective service, balancing the need to save money in a challenging economic environment against the need to ensure the police have a quickly deployable asset that can be used to tackle crime and protect the public. 

Responding to the findings of a comprehensive review commissioned in 2009, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and individual Police Authorities approved the central recommendation to replace the previous air support system with a national service, regionally coordinated for local delivery.

NPAS illustrates how the police are pro-actively moving towards a national, co-ordinated way of working and is delivered under the first national Collaboration Agreement between policing bodies in England and Wales. Through collaborative working, the police are able to provide capability from the air that maximises the delivery of frontline public services, but with a lower cost than services procured and managed on a local basis.

NPAS operates under a lead force model through West Yorkshire Police.  This ensures that NPAS is led and owned by the police and delivers the operational benefits and financial savings that have been presented to individual police bodies.

Once all forces join NPAS, there will be 25 aircraft based at 23 strategic locations across England and Wales. This will be achieved through borderless tasking and making use of the nearest available aircraft through the central Despatch and Flight Monitoring service in Bradford, West Yorkshire. NPAS will deliver a service with an aircraft available 24 hours a day and is supported by three reserve aircraft when aircraft are offline for scheduled maintenance to minimise reduction in service.

Since the launch of NPAS there have been many successful air operations and the benefits of NPAS are already being realised.  As a result of borderless tasking and due to more informed tasking, NPAS is already seeing a 10% reduction in the number of flying hours used by forces. There has also been increased aircraft availability under NPAS as reserve aircraft have been utilised during times of scheduled maintenance and in support of large policing operations. 

National Policing Lead for Aviation, Chief Constable Alex Marshall said, “I am delighted that forces in the South West join NPAS today, a service that will provide efficient and effective air support for the public of England and Wales. NPAS has already seen the significant benefits that borderless tasking can bring to police operations and with the joining of these forces we will build upon this.  NPAS will continue to strive for operational effectiveness and innovative contracts which will enable additional savings to be achieved.” 
 



2nd April 2013

North East Region join National Police Air Service

Today, (Monday, April 1st), Police forces in the North East (Cleveland, Durham, Humberside, Northumbria, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire) join the National Police Air Service (NPAS). This is the third phase of implementation since the launch of NPAS on 1st October 2012.  The remaining police forces in England and Wales will join NPAS by January 2015.  

The focus of NPAS is to deliver a more cost effective service, balancing the need to save money in a challenging economic environment against the need to ensure the police have a quickly deployable asset that can be used to tackle crime and protect the public. 

Responding to the findings of a comprehensive review commissioned in 2009, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and individual Police Authorities approved the central recommendation to replace the previous air support system with a national service, regionally coordinated for local delivery.

In difficult financial times, NPAS illustrates how the police are pro-actively moving towards a national, co-ordinated way of working. NPAS is delivered under the first National Collaboration Agreement between policing bodies in England and Wales. Through collaborative working this enables a service to provide capability from the air that maximises the delivery of frontline public services, but with a lower cost than services procured and managed on a local basis.

NPAS operates under a lead force model through West Yorkshire Police.  This ensures that NPAS is led and owned by the police and delivers the operational benefits and financial savings that have been presented to individual police bodies.

Once all forces join NPAS there will be 25 aircraft based at 23 strategic locations that provide the operational capability to deliver an effective and efficient air support service. This will be achieved through borderless tasking and making use of the nearest available aircraft through the central Despatch and Flight Monitoring service which is based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. NPAS will deliver a service with an aircraft available 24 hours a day and is supported by three reserve aircraft when aircraft are offline for scheduled maintenance to minimise reduction in service.

There have been many sucesssful air operations since NPAS launched including the ongoing assistance with the 17 week trial for the murder of two Greater Manchester Police (GMP) female officers.  The trial involves significant movement of defendants under escort with the largest demand for air support coverage outside of the Olympics last year.  NPAS is able to meet the requirement through use of the reserve aircraft and regional resilience which would not have been possible pre NPAS. 

Police service business lead for NPAS, Chief Constable Alex Marshall said, “I am delighted that the North East Region joins NPAS today, a service that will provide efficient and effective air service for the public of England and Wales. NPAS has already seen the significant benefits that borderless tasking can bring to police operations and with the joining of the North East forces we will build upon this.  NPAS will continue to strive for operational effectiveness and innovative contracts which will enable additional savings to be achieved.” 
 



1st April 2013

North East Region

Which will cover the following force areas:

West Yorkshire

North Yorkshire

South Yorkshire

Humberside

Durham

Northumbria

Cleveland

The bases will be located at:

Carr Gate- Wakefield

Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Humberside Airport, Humberside

Newcastle Airport, Newcastle

Durham Tees Valley Airport, Teeside
 



29th March 2013

Latest #NPAS13 tweets as lead force's helicopter (@WYPhelicopter) prepares to change over to NPAS:




29th January 2013

News Release: North West Region join National Police Air Service

Today, (Tuesday, January 29th), Police forces in the North West (Cheshire, North Wales, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria) join the National Police Air Service (NPAS). This is the second phase of implementation since the launch of NPAS on 1st October 2012 when the forces in the South East joined.  The remaining police forces in England and Wales will join NPAS by January 2015.  

The focus of NPAS is to deliver a more cost effective service, balancing the need to save money in a challenging economic environment against the need to ensure the police have a quickly deployable asset that can be used to tackle crime and protect the public. 

Responding to the findings of a comprehensive review commissioned in 2009, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and individual Police Authorities approved the central recommendation to replace the previous air support system with a national service, regionally coordinated for local delivery.

In difficult financial times, NPAS illustrates how the police are pro-actively moving towards a national, co-ordinated way of working. NPAS is delivered under the first National Collaboration Agreement between policing bodies in England and Wales. Through collaborate working this enables a service to provide capability from the air that maximises the delivery of frontline public services, but with a lower cost than services procured and managed on a local basis.

NPAS operates under a lead force model through West Yorkshire Police.  This ensures that NPAS is led and owned by the police and delivers the operational benefits and financial savings that have been presented to individual police bodies.

Once all forces join NPAS there will be 25 aircraft based at 23 strategic locations that provide the operational capability to deliver an effective and efficient air support service. This will be achieved through borderless tasking and making use of the nearest available aircraft. NPAS will deliver a service available 24 hours a day, supported by three reserve aircraft when aircraft are offline for scheduled maintenance to minimise reduction in service.

The North West forces have been operating under a regional model in line with NPAS since July 2011 with aircraft based at Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, Hawarden, Cheshire, Barton Moss, Greater Manchester and Warton, Lancashire.  Through borderless tasking and a reduction of one aircraft, previously based at RAF Woodvale, Merseyside, the North West forces have used 10% fewer flying hours due to intelligent tasking and despatch.  They have also made savings of 14% compared with previous costs.  As part of NPAS these forces have the additional benefit of reserve aircraft to provide support when aircraft are offline for scheduled maintenance as well as a national central Despatch and Flight Monitoring service which is based in Bradford, West Yorkshire.  

ACPO lead for NPAS, Chief Constable Alex Marshall said, “I am delighted that the North West Region joins NPAS today, a service that will provide efficient and effective air service for the public of England and Wales. Police forces in the North West have already shown that NPAS works and the significant benefits that borderless tasking can bring to the region.  As part of NPAS, we will build upon the good work that has been achieved by these forces to ensure that operational effectiveness as well as innovative contracts providing additional savings be achieved.”

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

NPAS is delivered under the first National Collaboration Agreement made under Section 22 of the Police Act 1996 (as amended) between the policing bodies and forces of England and Wales.

NPAS Implementation Dates and locations

1 October 2012 - South East Region**

Which cover the following force areas:

Cambridgeshire    

Essex

Suffolk

Norfolk

Kent

Sussex

Surrey

Hampshire

Thames Valley

Bedfordshire

Hertfordshire            

The bases are located at:

Boreham Airport- Essex

Wattisham/Honington- Suffolk

Redhill- Surrey

Benson- Oxfordshire

29 January 2013 - North West Region       

Which cover the following force areas:

North Wales

Cheshire

GMP

Lancashire

Cumbria

Merseyside

The bases are located at:

Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, North Wales

Hawarden- Cheshire

Barton Moss- Greater Manchester

Warton- Lancashire

April 2013 - North East Region

Which will cover the following force areas:

West Yorkshire

North Yorkshire

South Yorkshire

Humberside

Durham

Northumbria

Cleveland

The bases will be located at:

Carr Gate- Wakefield

Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Humberside Airport, Humberside

Newcastle Airport, Newcastle

Durham Tees Valley Airport, Teeside

July 2013 - South West        

Which will cover the following force areas:

Devon & Cornwall

Dorset

Avon & Somerset

Gloucestershire

Dyfed Powys

South Wales

Gwent

The bases will be located at:

Bournemouth Airport, Bournemouth

Exeter Airport, Exeter

Filton, South Gloucestershire

Pembrey, Dyfed-Powys

St Athan, Glamorgan, South Wales

October 2013 – Central Region

Which will cover the following force areas:

Staffordshire

West Mercia

West Midlands

Leicestershire

Northamptonshire

Warwickshire

Lincolnshire

Derbyshire

Nottinghamshire

The bases will be located at:

Halfpenny Green, Wolverhampton

Birmingham Airport, Birmingham

Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire

Ripley, Derbyshire                                                                                            

January 2014 – London Region

Which will cover the following force areas:

Metropolitan**

City of London

The base will be located at:

Lippit's Hill, Essex

January 2015 South West Continued       

Wiltshire

 (NB ** MPS provide operational assistance to NPAS since 1 October 2012.)

 

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