Mayor of West Yorkshire, UK, Tracy Brabin has given 12 months formal notice to end the West Yorkshire Police’s responsibilities as the leading force for the National Police Air Service (NPAS), in the hopes of instigating a new delivery model and structure for aerial police support.
This decision follows a recent meeting of the National Strategic Board, which found the levels of availability for the fleet were ‘suboptimal and that police forces that fund the NPAS were seeing ‘financial challenges, as well as a personal meeting with Kit Malthouse, Minister for Policing.
In a statement, Brabin commented: “Although NPAS is a unique national collaboration with a strong brand and has evolved over many years during difficult times in delivering a truly 24/7 borderless service, the conflicting pressures of diminishing resources, new technology, and the ever-changing requirements of policing in England and Wales nearly 10 years on have become too great to dismiss.”
Accessible drones make nationwide air support unviable
Brabin noted that, although the arrangement with West Yorkshire Police was anticipated to change with further reviews of the governance and leadership of police aviation, ‘progress has been slow due to a number of reasons, and I believe now is the right time to take stock of the situation and look towards a different way of operating the service’.
Owen West, former Chief Superintendent at West Yorkshire Police, commented on Twitter: “Good decision by [Brabin] NPAS has been a millstone around the force’s neck for years. Easy and accessible drone technology is making a standing national fleet less viable year on year.”
Police and firefighting service across the UK are adopting drone technology, including the Hertfordshire police, fire, and rescue service. The July issue of AirMed & Rescue explores air support for police forces across the world.