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From the Front Line: The Lived-Reality of Police Helicopter Operations

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Abstract

This chapter, based on interviews with National Police Air Service (NPAS) pilots and tactical flight officers, reveals the lived reality of police helicopter operations in England and Wales, from witnessing acts of extreme violence (such as a beheading in north London) to searching for the remains of bodies atomised by locomotive impacts. Highly professional in their outlook and behaviour, the men and women of the NPAS push themselves and their equipment to the limit in their quest to safeguard the public and apprehend criminals. Interviewees claimed a link between teamwork-training and performance. Teamwork-training – known in aviation as crew resource management – was universally praised. It is recommended that the police service urgently considers the introduction of teamwork training for all officers. The police service is starved of resources. The NPAS needs better equipment – longer-ranged, more capable helicopters with state-of-the-art sensors and communications equipment and protection from small-arms fire. The State’s primary mission is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. As a matter of urgency, the government should divert monies from health-care and education to the police service. Integrity and courage should be recognised and rewarded.

Keywords

  • National Police Air Service
  • Interviews
  • Lived-reality
  • Mission-effectiveness
  • Operational safety

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Correspondence to Simon Bennett .

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Appendix: Interview Questions to: NPAS Pilots and Tactical Flight Officers

Appendix: Interview Questions to: NPAS Pilots and Tactical Flight Officers

  1. 1.

    In what ways has your CRM training helped in your routine, day-to-day work?

  2. 2.

    In what ways has your CRM training helped in non-normal situations?

  3. 3.

    What changes would you make to CRM training to make it more relevant to your role in the cockpit/in the cabin?

  4. 4.

    Do you think CRM could be used in other professions/industries?

  5. 5.

    If ‘yes’, which professions/industries, and what benefits might CRM bring?

  6. 6.

    Is there anything else you would like to say?

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Bennett, S. (2020). From the Front Line: The Lived-Reality of Police Helicopter Operations. In: Fox, B., Reid, J., Masys, A. (eds) Science Informed Policing. Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-41287-6_11

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-41287-6_11

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