NPAS pilot recognised for his 'outstanding performance'

Thursday 2 November 2011

Captain John Roberts, a line pilot with the National Police Air Service, has been awarded the highly prestigious ‘Johnston Memorial Trophy’ for his “outstanding performance in the operation of air systems”

John received the 2023 award from The Honourable Company of Air Pilots.

Highly experienced, John has flown on police operations for 22 years after leaving a career with the Royal Navy.

In 2010, he volunteered to take on a coordination and planning role as part of UK Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT) preparedness and for the past 12 years has been responsible for police air support provision of helicopters in support of MCT.

Whilst the role was initially considered one of post-event evidence-gathering, John’s demonstration of the capability of the police crews and aircraft systems led to an expansion of the role, working closely with military aviation assets.

He was instrumental in developing training for police crews involved in what is a complex highly dynamic aviation environment and assisted with development of the communication infrastructure that allows images to be relayed in real time to operational control centres.

Head of NPAS Flight Operations Captain Paul Watts said John regularly attends planning events, as well as flying missions, and is viewed as the police aviation expert. This is in addition to his normal duties as a Police Line Pilot and Training Captain.

“John’s ability to plan and supervise complex operations outside of normal business led to him being approached to take on the further role of coordinating aviation support during US Presidential visits. John has assisted with four POTUS visits to the UK where he has established similarly effective working relationships with the US agencies. He has been personally commended for his expertise and assistance in ensuring the successful movement by helicopter of POTUS during four visits.

“John’s ability to not only fly challenging missions, but to also coordinate with multiple agencies, is exemplary.

“He works tirelessly to provide the best possible support and his hard work and dedication over the last 12 years have made an invaluable contribution to UK operations, over and above his work as a Police Air Support pilot.”

John was awarded The Johnston Memorial Trophy at an event at the Guildhall, London, on Thursday 26 October 2023.