Police helicopter based in West Yorkshire has makeover as it flies the colours of the National Police Air Service (9 Jan 2014)

NPAS1A police helicopter based in West Yorkshire has had a makeover as it flies the colours of the National Police Air Service (NPAS).

NPAS provides a national, borderless service making use of the nearest aircraft meaning that the police service's response is, in many cases, enhanced over previous provision.

The underlying principle of the service is a national one, regionally coordinated for local delivery.

West Yorkshire Police signed up to the service in April, transferring its aircraft to NPAS control.

The helicopter pad at Carrgate, Wakefield, remained, and the helicopter based there is now decked out in official NPAS colours.

Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, Accountable Manager for NPAS, said:

"It's business as usual for West Yorkshire Police and the people the force serves.

"When a helicopter is asked for we get the nearest available aircraft into the air as quickly as possible and we also continue to provide aircraft for large-scale public events.

"Painting the helicopter in the new NPAS colours simply marks the final transition of the aircraft into NPAS control."

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson, and the Chair of the strategic board for the National Police Air Service, (NPAS), said: "The primary objective of NPAS is to deliver a national service that provides the police with capability from the air that maximises the benefits of air support to the delivery of frontline policing services.

"This unique national collaboration, the first of its kind, continues to deliver performance improvements and value for money."

When all forces in England and Wales join NPAS, it will provide an air service to 98% of the population.

NPAS aircraft are placed at 23 strategic locations the provide the operational capability to deliver an enhanced service to the public with an aircraft being available 24 hours a day.

Reserve aircraft are also provided when aircraft are off-line for maintenance to minimise any reduction in service.

NPAS delivers a more cost effective service, balancing the need to save money against the need to ensure the police service has a quickly deployable asset that can be used to tackle crime and protect the public.

It is anticipated that NPAS will save up to £15m a year compared to the cost of previous arrangements when all forces join NPAS.

When fully formed NPAS will serve all 43 forces in England and Wales under a lead force model. That force is West Yorkshire Police and the organisation already serves the existing members of NPAS with the control room based in Bradford.

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