National Police Air Service (NPAS)

Interview with Tactical Flight Officer Karen to celebrate Women of Aviation Worldwide Week

• What’s your name and what is your role within the National Police Air Service?
I’m Karen and I work for the National Police Air Service as a Tactical Flight Officer (TFO). As one of the crew based at NPAS Filton I get deployed to various incidents predominantly in the south west area.

• How long have you worked for the National Police Air Service?
I started with the National Police Air Service in 2016, but I have worked within Police Aviation since 1996 as crew with the old Western Counties aircraft Q99 covering the Avon & Somerset and Gloucestershire areas.  

• What made you want to work in police aviation?
I have always had an interest in aviation and originally trained as an aircraft engineer with the military prior to joining the police. I was ready for a new challenge in my career as a police officer when it was announced that the force was purchasing a helicopter to enhance their operations department. I knew then that this was the ideal job for me combining both careers of aviation and policing.... and as they say after that I never looked back. 

• How have you found being a woman, working in police aviation?
Aviation on the whole is a male dominated area and I don’t mind saying it was hard to start with in the mid 1990s but times have changed and now you are just seen as a vital part of the team. I have received nothing but support and encouragement from my male colleagues.

• Do you think women can be as successful as men in police aviation?
Absolutely, you only have to look at how many women are now employed within the organisation. This speaks for itself with woman being employed as pilots, tactical flight officers, specialist personnel and Operations Centre staff. All of which are key roles making police aviation the success that it is.

• What advice would you give to other women who want to work in police aviation?
“Opportunities in life don’t happen, you create them”.

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