January 2024 - Performance Update

In January 2024, the average time to reach the scene of Priority One (urgent) incidents was 11 minutes and 9 seconds.

Availability of aircraft in the month was 73.4%, which is higher than the average availability for last year, which was 71.4%.

Planned engineering means it is not possible to achieve 100% availability.

For Priority Two incidents (non urgent), the average time it took to reach a scene was 20 minutes and 32 seconds.

In January 2024, 3,011 calls for air support were received, compared to 2,876 calls the previous month.

Year-to-date, our rotary aircraft have flown on behalf of forces for a total of 9,527 hours and our fixed wing aircraft for 443 hours. The fixed wing crews have assisted 38 different police forces across England and Wales.

The proportion of tasks resulting in a positive outcome remains high, at 88.7%.

In real terms, this equates to 1,445 missing or vulnerable people located, 3,794  suspects caught and 1,569 vehicles tracked so far this year, either directly, or with the assistance of, national police air support. 

There have also been 686 pre-planned tasks carried out by NPAS since the beginning of April 2023.


 Some of January's incidents of note

  • On 16 January 2024, whilst already airborne, the crew of an NPAS Birmingham helicopter overhead reports of a man with a firearm in a public place. The crew were the first on the scene and immediately located the suspect in a nearby street. Ground patrols were directed to the location and the man was safely arrested by firearms officers. A pistol was recovered. 

  • On 17 January 2024, NPAS Redhill was requested to assist multiple ground units in the search for a cloned car. Whilst on route, the crew spotted the suspect vehicle and began radio commentary of its movement, whilst providing downlink images, in real time, to the force control room. The vehicle was driving dangerously with no police units behind it. Despite a wheel coming off, the vehicle continued at speed until the driver stopped and the occupants ran off. One arrest was made.


  • A crew from NPAS Newcastle was diverted from a training flight after receiving a report that a woman was in difficulty in the sea, off the Bamburgh coast on 24 January 2024. A search of the coastline was conducted and the woman was spotted laying in sand dunes. She was cold and distressed. Ground units were directed to her location and they found her suffering with hypothermia.  


  • On 31 January 2024, the crew from NPAS Almondsbury was tasked with looking for a woman who had made threats to her own life. Her car had been found in woodland so the helicopter crew began there search from that point. Within two minutes a heat source was identified, over 300 metres from the vehicle. As ground units couldn’t reach her quickly, the crew took the decision to make an adhoc landing and a Tactical Flight Officer alighted the aircraft to administer first aid until other emergency service workers could reach her. Once it was established she did not require a defibrillator or casevac, the aircraft collected the Flight Officer.