National Police Air Service (NPAS)

PCC West Yorkshire


Having a lead model means that NPAS is led and owned by the police service locally and delivers the operational benefits and financial savings that have been presented nationally to individual policing bodies.

NPAS operates under a National Collaboration Agreement covering all the policing bodies in England and Wales. It is supported by the relevant legislation in the form of the Police (Collaboration:Specified Function) Order 2012, under Section 23FA of the Police Act 1996, specifying air support as a critical national function to be carried out through a single national collaboration agreement.

Therefore all policing bodies and forces in England and Wales were expected to join NPAS to ensure a truly national service. It was implemented in a regional phased approach from October 2012 onwards.

The Police and Crime Commissioner of West Yorkshire, Mark Burns Williamson, plays a lead role in the governance of the National Police Air Service (NPAS) and chairs the Strategic Board. Because NPAS is a concept rather than a legal entity, it cannot own property or employ people - this has to be done by the PCC and the CC in West Yorkshire on behalf of the rest of England and Wales. The OPCC owns the airframes and the contracts under which NPAS operates while the CC is the employer of the staff.

In 2009, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) undertook a review of the 1993 National Air Operations Strategy. The review concluded that the existing arrangements for delivery of air support were highly fragmented and did not provide value for money.

In October 2010, Chief Constable Alex Marshall, in his capacity as the Aviation Portfolio holder for ACPO, presented a paper at the Chief Constables’ Council setting out the proposal for a National Police Air Service (NPAS). The underlying principle of NPAS is that it is a national service, regionally co-ordinated for local delivery.

NPAS has been fully endorsed by all chief constables and has strong ministerial support.


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