Air support vital to modern policing

05 March 2015

The crucial role of air support in modern policing has been reinforced by the Police Federation of England Wales.

The Federation has met with the National Police Air Service (NPAS) to discuss the impact of plans to close ten police helicopter bases around the country by 2017. This follows the decision of NPAS’ Strategic Board to reduce its operating costs by 14% over the next three years due to reduced funding.

Zac Mader, lead on air support for the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “No chief officer wants to sanction cuts to such vital policing services as air support, but that is exactly what NPAS’ Strategic Board has been forced to do.

“Air support is a vital part of the policing armoury in the 21st century and plays an important role not only in the prevention and detection of crime but also in the protection of the public. As a recent College of Policing study found an increasing amount of police time is focused on keeping the public safe, and appropriate air support is crucial to activities such as looking for vulnerable and missing people.

“Cuts have consequences – the new air support model will not provide the same level of service as currently exists and it will be more difficult to provide cover to all parts of the country. No cuts to budgets should ever cut so deep into policing that they jeopardise the service’s ability to keep people safe but this is exactly what is happening.”

Further meetings are planned in which NPAS representatives will update Police Federation representatives from those regions affected by the closures.

Federations will be supporting those officers throughout NPAS’ 45-day consultation process with regard to the closures, future staffing levels and relocation of officers.