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Andrew97
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M620 – Police Helicopter Motion, Miss maddie MP

The National Police Air Service (NPAS) provides helicopter coverage for police in England and Wales. Covering the whole area are 19 helicopters and 10 bases. There are too few bases and aircraft to give effective coverage.

For example, if a helicopter is needed in the Lake District it has to fly over 60 miles to be on the scene. It would take 40 minutes for a helicopter to cover that distance and that travel time significantly reduces the ability of the helicopter before running out of fuel and needing to land. Similar situations exist in Wales where there is only one base in South Wales, and Great Yarmouth where the nearest helicopter is over 80 miles away (over an hour's wait).

This criticism is not new. When the NPAS became operation in 2012, a report concluded that since 2002 there had been a 33% cut in the number of aircraft and many incidents requiring air support are over before a helicopter can arrive. Incidents ending without air support place police officers at a greater risk of danger and can have worse outcomes on the incident. Moreover, despite the requirement for air support increasing, cuts are made by reducing service rather than reducing efficiencies [all 1]. In 2015 further cuts to bases were made (10 bases were closed) and effectiveness of the service was further reduced [2].

This House calls on the government to:

1. Increase the number of helicopters available to the service to at least 29 to match 2002 levels by 2023 at the latest.
2. Ensure there are sufficient bases to have a police helicopter on a scene anywhere in England and Wales within 30 minutes (assuming a helicopter is always available).
3. Move beyond review stage and introduce drones to complement the helicopter fleet.

References

1. https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov...urgent-reform/
2. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-31557425
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Theloniouss
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I'd probably support this
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Bailey14
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Aye, a perfectly sensible motion which has my support.
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Jammy Duel
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Point 2 perhaps needs some flexibility given Scotland is basically a load of nothing, a helicopter based in/around Inverness would cover most of the highlands etc but to have true nationwide half an hour coverage would mean wasting a helicopter on the Shetlands and another on the outer hebrides.

60 mile radius on Inverness
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Seeing that I would think you'd more likely go between Inverness and Aberdeen to cover the two with a single base
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Jammy Duel
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In terms of getting coverage it isn't too hard, covering most of the UK (excluding anglesey, outer Islands, and remote parts of Scotland) only took 12 bases, obviously those uncovered areas could readily be covered by more with a few more bases.

Of course there would be far more overlap between bases in practice.

123456789.PNG
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Aph
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I question the logic of always needing a police helicopter half an hour away. Surely it makes more sense having them where they are often needed? I also cannot think of a situation in the lake district that would need emergency police helicopter but the mountain rescue one would not suffice?
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Point 2 perhaps needs some flexibility given Scotland is basically a load of nothing, a helicopter based in/around Inverness would cover most of the highlands etc but to have true nationwide half an hour coverage would mean wasting a helicopter on the Shetlands and another on the outer hebrides.

60 mile radius on Inverness
123456789.PNG

Seeing that I would think you'd more likely go between Inverness and Aberdeen to cover the two with a single base
The NPAS doesn't cover Scotland. The NPAS is only for England and Wales. Police Scotland operate their own system as do the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Why do your circles have a 60 mile radius? When crew loading time, take off time and acceleration to full speed are considered the radius is far less than 60 miles to meet the 30 minute target.
Last edited by Miss Maddie; 1 month ago
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Aph)
I question the logic of always needing a police helicopter half an hour away. Surely it makes more sense having them where they are often needed? I also cannot think of a situation in the lake district that would need emergency police helicopter but the mountain rescue one would not suffice?
And I cannot think of anywhere you might want several police helicopters stationed that is within half an hour of the lake district...wait no I can think of a few:

Chorley to serve Greater Manchester, Liverpool, etc
Harrogate to serve Leeds, Middlesbrough, York, etc
Durham to serve Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, etc

123456789.PNG

While 100% coverage isn't necessarily desirable (some of the outlying Islands would have been a better example than the Lake District) you can get very high coverage even if just focusing on the major population centres.

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That set of 10 gives you bases for:
NI
Bristol/Cardiff/ area
London/SE
London/CEntral south
Birmingham etc
Manchester/Liverpool
Leeds/Hull/York etc
Newcastle/Hartlepool etc
Central Belt
Inverness/Aberdeen

At the very least until fairly recently (might be gone now, not sure) there was a police helicopter stationed in Huntingdonshire which would give you half hour for most of the East and just about reach parts of London.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
The NPAS doesn't cover Scotland. The NPAS is only for England and Wales. Police Scotland operate their own system as do the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Why do your circles have a 60 mile radius? When crew loading time, take off time and acceleration to full speed are considered the radius is far less than 60 miles to meet the 30 minute target.
There is very much for potential to be overestimating how long those things take, if we're talking about on call crew you are looking at what, minutes at most to gear up and depart? Acceleration is also hardly slow in a helicopter
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Iñigo de Loyola
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Aye. As for the concerns about access to the Highlands and Islands:
1) Mountain Rescue helicopters exist
2) I'm not sure McPlod will ever need to get a helicopter to some crofter's hut in Caithness.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Point 2 perhaps needs some flexibility given Scotland is basically a load of nothing, a helicopter based in/around Inverness would cover most of the highlands etc but to have true nationwide half an hour coverage would mean wasting a helicopter on the Shetlands and another on the outer hebrides.

60 mile radius on Inverness
123456789.PNG

Seeing that I would think you'd more likely go between Inverness and Aberdeen to cover the two with a single base
I may be wrong but I don't believe this motion covers Scotland.
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04MR17
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Very happy to support points 1 and 3 in this motion. I note some concerns over point 2 and I hope these can be addressed by the author.

Other than that it's an aye from me in division and I thank the author for providing us with a new topic of debate.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by 04MR17)
I may be wrong but I don't believe this motion covers Scotland.
You are correct which actually makes coverage issues much smaller, it does however mean the motion could be far more ambitious, unless the Scottish do have much more complete coverage.
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El Salvador
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How often are they actually used?
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Darth Caedus
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Aye. This motion is perfectly sensible, and if implemented would make the country safer.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by El Salvador)
How often are they actually used?
According to Wikipedia citing something from PSNI in 2015, the NI equivalent (currently 3 helicopters and 1 fixed wing aircraft) responded to over 4,000 callouts, or 3 per day per aircraft on average.

Across their whole force 5 missing persons searches a week (which would scale up to about 20 per day for England and Wales)

And with a little bit of Googling: https://www.psni.police.uk/globalass...Newsletter.pdf
Last edited by Jammy Duel; 1 month ago
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by El Salvador)
How often are they actually used?
A lot! In 2016 at least 24,873 missions were cancelled mid flight after the long response times saw the missions cancelled. That represents 40% of missions. The 2016 figure is also down 50% on 2009. Commanders have stopped calling in helicopters due to a lack of availability. Some police forces wait over an hour for a helicopter to arrive on scene.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
A lot! In 2016 at least 24,873 missions were cancelled mid flight after the long response times saw the missions cancelled. That represents 40% of missions. The 2016 figure is also down 50% on 2009. Commanders have stopped calling in helicopters due to a lack of availability. Some police forces wait over an hour for a helicopter to arrive on scene.
Thank you. And was a helicopter necessary in those cases?
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by El Salvador)
Thank you. And was a helicopter necessary in those cases?
You think the helicopter would be called t a cost of thousands of pounds per hour if it weren't deemed to be necessary?


Or for that matter called out when such a limited resource meaning it is taken away from others?
Last edited by Jammy Duel; 1 month ago
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Napp
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Would it not be simpler and cheaper to expand the use of UAV's? A large fleet of helicopters having extremely high upfront costs and ongoing ones.
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