National Police Air Service (NPAS)

Police air service flies the flag for Control Room Awards

Press release - Meehan Media & Comms (on behalf of APD Communications)

The organisation that co-ordinates air support for police services in England and Wales has urged full support for the first awards to celebrate the unsung heroes of the UK’s control rooms.

The National Police Air Service (NPAS) provides 24/7 air cover, 365 days a year, and plays a vital role in responding to major incidents, including terrorism attacks.

NPAS also supported the emergency services response to the Grenfell Tower fire, one of Britain’s worst peacetime disasters.

The Control Room Awards 2018 have been launched by APD Communications, a company specialising in mission critical solutions for the blue light agencies, and NPAS is the latest emergency services organisation to endorse the awards.

Inspector Simon Hepworth, NPAS Operations Centre Manager, said: “We’re wholly supportive of the Control Room Awards. They will recognise the highly professional and very skilled nature of the work of control room staff.

“These are not call centre jobs – control room operators take calls, of course, but they also make very significant decisions that can make a difference between life and death.”

Insp Hepworth plans to nominate the entire NPAS Operations Centre team in the Control Room Awards Team of the Year category, following a year in which they have deployed air support to the Grenfell Tower blaze, five terrorist attacks and many other major incidents.

He added: “I see day in, day out the fantastic work our Operations Centre staff do and I’m acutely aware of the responsibility they shoulder.

“They have to make rapid and accountable decisions that consider issues of threat, harm and risk. Police forces’ requests for air support can range from apprehending a shoplifter right up to incidents such as Grenfell Tower and terrorist attacks. In each case the flight despatcher receiving the request has to make a judgement call on the deployment of aircraft.

“Every major incident requires air support and 2017 has been marked by quite a number of highly-critical incidents, including several terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower disaster. It’s been relentless, but the team has coped admirably. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

NPAS operates a fleet of 19 helicopters from 15 air bases, supporting all the police forces across England and Wales and British Transport Police. These assets are deployed by 30 full-time equivalent flight despatchers based in the NPAS Operations Centre within the West Yorkshire Police headquarters at Wakefield.

Joanne Burton, one of NPAS’ five Flight Duty Officers, said staff in the Operations Centre performed highly-skilled roles.

She said: “NPAS is a relatively new organisation and some of the staff have come from a police control room background. They have had to step up their game within a new environment and develop new knowledge and skills. The Operations Centre is a cross between a police control room and air traffic control, in a way.

“People who work in control rooms tend to be self-sacrificing. They get on with the job and do it to the best of their ability, but their work goes largely unnoticed.

“Control room staff don’t shout about what they do, but it’s good to see that these awards will give them recognition. They add so much to what officers do out on the streets and, of course, in the air.”

APD Communications develops critical, life-saving software used by the police and other emergency services organisations across the country, as well as transport and aviation operators nationally and internationally.

APD has launched the Control Room Awards to recognise the life-saving and life-changing work of control room staff working for the emergency services and within a wide range of public and private sector organisations.

The Platinum Sponsor for the APD Control Room Awards 2018 is telent Technology Services. The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at the De Vere Orchard Hotel in Nottingham. Nominations are open until January 18, 2018, with the shortlist revealed on February 1, 2018.

To nominate an individual or team for the APD Control Room Awards, visit

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the event, visit for more information.

Follow the Control Room Awards on Facebook: @controlroomawards and Twitter: @CR_Awards


For media enquiries please contact:
John Meehan, Meehan Media & Comms (on behalf of APD Communications).
Tel 01482 223479 or 07803 199492.

Notes to Editors
APD Communications
APD Communications creates secure, intelligent and connected control room and fleet technologies that help organisations protect and preserve society.

Founded by two academics from the University of Hull in 1984 and still based in the city, APD has developed cutting-edge digital technology for more than 30 years and is an acknowledged market leader in software development.

APD made its name in the 1980s by designing and delivering the world’s first real-time bus tracking system, which then became the industry benchmark. Later, APD engineered the Eurotunnel communications network, facilitating connectivity between the British and French borders and inside the tunnel itself.

Today, one in two UK police forces employs APD’s technology, while APD also services the national transport and aviation sectors. The London Underground runs safely and on time with assistance from APD technology, which tracks train locations and supports control room collaboration across the 250-mile network.

Internationally, APD has an ever-growing presence, powering mission-critical control rooms in Sweden, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. At Dubai Airport – the world’s busiest international passenger airport with 77m passengers annually – APD’s integrated control room solution keeps the entire operation safe, secure and running efficiently.

The company’s partners are an integral part of the service and technology APD delivers. APD’s technology partners include mobile communications pioneer Motorola; global digital solutions provider Avaya; network services provider telent; and digital transformation leader sopra steria.

APD is at the forefront of preparations for the UK’s new digital Emergency Services Network (ESN), due to go live in 2018. APD is working with police, fire and ambulance services around the UK to upgrade to world-leading technology, enabling a business-as-usual transition.

APD provides its customers with a dedicated support team, available 24/7, 365 days a year. Every APD employee has official security clearance, ensuring customers can have full confidence that their sensitive data is in safe hands.

The company is showing strong growth, with turnover in 2017 reaching £9m, up 32% on the previous year, powered by APD’s market-leading products, including Cortex, Aspire and Artemis.

Cortex is APD’s Integrated Communication Control System (ICCS) used in more than 70 control rooms around the world. Cortex brings radio, telephony, CCTV and more together on one screen, helping organisations to connect, collaborate and communicate rapidly and effectively when it matters most. A trailblazer in this field, APD has developed and launched the world’s first hosted ICSS, at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, supporting the efficient running of the entire hospital operation all day, every day.

Aspire is APD’s contact management solution, designed to help emergency services organisations to identify and protect vulnerable people. A software solution that can be integrated easily with existing command and control applications, Aspire provides APD’s customers with full contact history to make informed decisions and save lives.

Artemis is APD’s solution for fleet management and the remote transfer of data and information from vehicles to control rooms and fleet managers. The only technology of its kind built specifically for the emergency services, Artemis helps customers to improve use of resources and driver behaviour and ensure vehicles get to where they need to be promptly and efficiently.

These technologies work independently and inter-dependently to support organisations across the public and private sectors. APD is attuned to meeting the needs of organisations with critical operations that rely on instant and highly-resilient communications.

National Police Air Service (NPAS)
Five years since its formation, NPAS are successfully delivering a fully borderless service to all 46 police forces across England and Wales and an unprecedented national response to the ever-increasing number of national major and critical incidents.

Tasked with supporting police forces across England and Wales to keep communities safe, NPAS provides an entirely borderless service, moving aircraft and crews to meet demand across England and Wales.

Governed by a Strategic Board made up of both PCCs and Chief Constables from across all regions of England and Wales, decisions are made using a ‘Threat, Harm and Risk’ deployment model agreed by the NPCC. They work together with West Yorkshire Police and WYPCC, in their capacity as ‘Lead Force’ and Lead Local Policing Body.



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