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The Last Flight of Police Helicopters 10 helicopters going #SaveOurChopperCoppers 

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Last week the NPAS announced that over the next 2 years, 10 police helicopter bases would be closing the hanger door for a final time. The implications are grave on many levels, and are of a direct result of reductionsto finances of around 37% since 2012. 

When a proposition is put to the police, that something that they consider critical is about to be reduced but ‘will be more efficient’ those who actually need and use the service are understandably sceptical

 

Back in 2012 this was exactly the case with police helicopters, a business plan, reached the conclusion that pooling helicopters under one organisation and placing them at number of strategic bases was much ‘smarter’ and of course cheaper than forces operating their own aircraft. Don’t forget this ‘new’ efficient business plan preceded a case made by all policing area’s a few years earlier supporting all 30 police air support bases to remain!

 

The job of running the new service was handed to West Yorkshire Police and most Chief Constables across the country duly signed up to the new National Police Air Service – NPAS and handed over their helicopters. 


Many Chiefs had reservations of course that they wouldn’t see the police helicopters nearly as much – especially the forces further from the bright lights and big cities. NPAS reassured the Chiefs that the new 23 bases would make sure everyone was covered as well as they were now during NPAS peak times – meaning for 10hrs a dayThe other 14hrs mostly during the night (when serious crime occurs) it’ll be a reduced service with a handful of helicopters covering the whole country.

 

Police Chiefs signed on the line and handed over pilots, crews, and helicopters and submitted yearly amounts of money. This amounted to several hundred thousand pounds, to nearly £2million per year to NPAS in return for an airtime deal where you pay for so many hours of flying in your force for catching criminals and searching for vulnerable missing persons etc. 

 

Now we’ve just had NPAS’s first full financial year and they’ve been hit with finding efficiency savings to the tune of 37%. That’s 23% in 2012 and now a further 14%.The reality of this is that they now simply can’t deliver what the individual police forces signed up to. They’ve agonised over many penny pinching schemes, but the reality of the level of cuts is the dropping of the bombshell that they’ll have to close bases and lose helicopters, the very opposite of the undertaking that NPAS promised to deliver back in the days of delivering a more ‘efficient and effective service’ .

 

In the light of the latest cuts NPAS produced a map of the UK showing a multitude of blue circles representing their target 20 minute flight times from their home bases to priority calls that they’ve agreed with police forces. The ‘practitioners’ have produced their own, based on experience and reality. 

The map has some shocking features, namely a total lack of helicopter coverage for ‘priority’ calls across huge swathes of the country. Cumbria and most of Lancashire has virtually no police helicopter cover with the planned base closure at Warton for example.

Wales and East Anglia, and the North East of England are dealt similar blows with no police helicopter cover to meet the priority target at all. 


The reduced number of bases under the new NPAS model is focused on the denser populated cities and anywhere outside of those areas is wildernesses as far as policing from the skies are concerned. Helicopters have a limited amount of fuel and flying over any distance seriously depletes their ability to stay overhead and actually do the task they were called up for, in reality cancelling out their effectiveness and value for money. 

 

The blame for this mess lies fairly and squarely at the door of the Home Office, they have openly reneged on a proposition for borderless police helicopter service by slashing its funding and actually forcing closures. Indeed If they’d been transparent and honest about this at the start, many forces may have considered not signing up to NPAS in the first place. 

 

The Minister for policing, Mike Penning as you would expect has responded with the usual wretched rhetoric about slickness and efficiency but it simply wont wash with the public who live in the huge swathes of the country like the North East and North West now pretty much abandoned by NPAS. 

 

At least Penning has had the decency to refrain from the government’s pathetic mantra of ‘maintaining frontline policing’ because it’s now become laughably implausible. 

 

The brave men and women who operate our NPAS cover so many front-line duties  pursuit safety, suspect containment, assisting 999 services, moving resources, finding missing persons, intelligence gathering and public order duty & demonstrations to name a few vital roles. The value of our police helicopters is immeasurable.   

 

What the public should be asking now from their PCC’s and MP’s is who exactly is holding this government to account for their safety? 

 

Cutting police helicopters is a charter for criminals and real worry for police on the ground that search for vulnerable missing persons on a daily basis. Criminals will act with impunity outside of the helicopter coverage and escape into the night and the lives of the missing and vulnerable will be lost where every minute counts. Meanwhile back in their cosy offices in the Home Office, they will pat themselves on the back for another job well done.

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BREAKING British and French scrambled to North Sea

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British and French jets have scrambled to the North Sea amid reports that Russian planes have entered the UK airspace.

The RAF Typhoon fighter jet is supporting Airbus Voyager plane deployed from Newcastle after 3pm today.

The French have also supported in the deployment supporting with a fighter jet.

In total four jets were seen over the North Sea on mapping.

The RAF has declined to comment on the situation describing it as an ongoing military operation.

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Fancy being locked in a haunted police cell?

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Forget Halloween Fancy a spooky night of fun, locked in a haunted cell for 24 hours to raise money for charity. Then we have an event that is right up your street.

Following on from the success of the PC Edward Walker Tour, Jules Berry a DDO with the Met Police is back with her spooky haunted cell idea to raise money for COPS UK and WMP History Museum, That is exactly what you can do this Feb.

Met Police Detention Officer Jules Berry is arranging the whole event in partnership with the WMP History Museum and is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

The event will take place on the 8th and 9th of February 2019, but be quick as places are limited.

Unfortunately, Police Hour will no longer be live streaming this event to our 2.5 Million Followers, But we hope our readers can still attend and support this event.

Need we say any more, Simply watch this video then sign up

Hats off to Kerry Blakeman for his fantastic advertorial.

The event is being held to support the restoration of the West Midlands Police Museum and COPS UK.

About COPS

COPS is the UK charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives in relation to their duty, to rebuild their lives.

Since being founded in 2003, they have helped hundreds of families shattered by the loss of their police officer.

They aim to ensure that surviving family members have all the help they need

to cope with such a tragedy and they remain part of the police family.

What COPS do?

COPS is a peer support charity, enabling Survivors from around the UK to support other Survivors in practical ways. They arrange local and national events that enable Survivors to build friendships and bonds that support them through the good times and bad.

Families are rightly proud of their officer and COPS to help ensure that they remain part of the police family.

What about the WMP History?

The West Midlands Police Museum at Coventry was opened in 1959 and celebrates the history of Coventry City Police which existed between 1839 & 1969, before becoming part of Warwickshire and Coventry Constabulary and in 1974, West Midlands Police.

The site at Sparkhill has been operating since 1995 when it moved there from the force’s training facility at Tally Ho! where it been operating as a CID training facility since the mid 1970s. Several of the exhibits had originated from the old Forensic Science Service laboratory when it moved from Newton Street to Gooch Street.

The Sparkhill museum contains items of policing memorabilia and old records from the West Midlands Police predecessor forces of Birmingham City Police, Walsall Borough Police, Dudley Borough Police, Wolverhampton Borough Police and West Midlands Constabulary. Some records are also held of Staffordshire County Police and Worcestershire officers as parts of those forces now fall within the West Midlands Police area.

You can also drop an email [email protected] to sign up, you must raise a minimum of £250 sponsorship.

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What on earth is happening in Salisbury? Two people fall seriously ill

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Emergency Services have launched a major incident after two people have fallen ill in Salisbury.

Officers have placed a cordon around Prezzo Restaurant after a man and woman were taken ill.

Police have declared a major incident. Police do not believe this is linked to Novichok.

Police received a call from the ambulance service to Prezzo restaurant, in High Street, at approximately 6.45pm. Two people, a man aged in his 40s and a woman aged in her 30s, had become unwell.

Due to recent events in the city and concerns that the pair had been exposed to an unknown substance, a highly precautionary approach was taken by all emergency services.

Both were taken to Salisbury District Hospital and were clinically assessed. We can now confirm that there is nothing to suggest that Novichok is the substance. Both people remain in hospital under observation.

The major incident status has now been stood down.

At this stage it is not yet clear if a crime has been committed and enquiries remain ongoing.

Salisbury District Hospital remains open as usual.

A cordon will remain in place around Prezzo at this time as part of ongoing routine enquiries. All other areas that were cordoned off will now be reopened.

We’d like to thank the public for their patience as a result of the impact of this incident.

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