National Police Air Service
|National Police Air Service|
Logo of the National Police Air Service
|Legal personality||Non government: Police unit|
|National agency||England and Wales|
|National Police Air Service's jurisdiction in the United Kingdom|
|Headquarters||West Yorkshire Police Despatch & Flight Monitoring Centre (D&FMC), Wakefield, England.|
The National Police Air Service (NPAS) is a police aviation service that provides centralised air support to the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales. It replaced the previous structure whereby police forces operated their own helicopters, either individually or in small consortia (such as the South East Air Support Unit). The project was coordinated by Alex Marshall (the then Chief Constable of Hampshire Police). West Yorkshire Police is the lead Force and the service is operated from West Yorkshire Police Despatch & Flight Monitoring Centre (D&FMC) based at Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
NPAS became operational on 1 October 2012, and is being rolled out in stages. As of February 2014 the service covers the South East (excluding London), North West and North East, the South West (excluding Wiltshire), and Central regions. Implementation in London, originally scheduled to join NPAS at the start of January 2014, has been postponed to October. The programme is expected to complete in January 2015 with the Wiltshire implementation, which is being delayed in order to reduce the impact on joint operations with the Wiltshire Air Ambulance service. By the end of this schedule the service will provide 25 helicopters, plus three reserve aircraft, operating from 23 bases.
The National Police Air Service has suggested that the Police Scotland Air Support Unit join the service to reduce costs. Police Scotland currently has access to a Eurocopter EC135, on loan from NPAS, after its helicopter crashed due to engine failure.
In February 2015 it was announced that, due to a 14% cut in revenue over the next three years, the NPAS would be closing ten bases over two years. As fixed wing aircraft are cheaper to fly, four helicopters will be replaced by aeroplanes. New fixed wing bases are planned for Elstree, near London, and at East Midlands airport.
- Eurocopter EC135 - 15
- Eurocopter EC145 - 4
- AgustaWestland AW109 - 1 (to be retired)
- MD Helicopters MD902 Explorer - 7 (to be retired)
- Vulcanair P68 - 4 on order
Map of NPAS Bases
- "New plans for a national police air service". Association of Chief Police Officers. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- "Press Release: National Police Air Service is launched". Association of Chief Police Officers. 1 October 2012.
- "NPAS Annual Report 2014 - 2015" (PDF). NPAS. 27 January 2016.
- "New police air service takes off". BBC News Online. 1 October 2012.
- "National Police Air Service: Latest NPAS News". West Yorkshire Police. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
- "Police helicopters in the South West join new service". BBC Online. 3 July 2013.
- "NPAS" (PDF). Police Aviation News. November 2013. p. 5.
- "NPAS" (PDF). Police Aviation News. January 2014. p. 10.
- "Wiltshire" (PDF). Police Aviation News (197). September 2012. pp. 8–9.
- PROTECT - CONTRACTS, Scottish Police Authority.
- "AAIB Bulletin S2/2014 SPECIAL" (pdf). Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- "Clutha crash: Police helicopter engines 'flamed out'". BBC News. BBC. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- Sarsfield, Kate (26 February 2015). "National Police Air Service to close ten bases". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- Drwiega Air International October 2015, p. 126.
- Drwiega, Andrew (October 2015). "Police Aviation's Transformation". Air International. Vol. 89 no. 4. pp. 126–127. ISSN 0306-5634.
- National Police Air Service (NPAS) Briefing – March 2011, National Policing Improvement Agency
- National Police Air Service (NPAS) website
- "NPAS Now" (PDF). Police Aviation News. December 2013. pp. 9–12.