With full planning permission from Epping Forest District Council now in place, the National Police Air Service (NPAS) will soon start building works on a purpose built airbase at North Weald Airfield in Essex. The new base will replace their existing facility at Lippitts Hill 16 miles away and form part of their national network of 15 bases providing air support to the 46 police forces of England and Wales.
Two police helicopters and a police aeroplane will regularly fly out of this new airbase, which will operate 24/7 and primarily serve London and the South East along with support from additional NPAS airbases at nearby Boreham Airfield, Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey and (RAF) Benson in Oxfordshire. Crews in these aircraft will be regularly supporting police colleagues on the ground to find missing people and search for suspects. They also frequently provide an aerial view to support local police to ensure crowd safety at major events and support police forces to bring many other ‘crimes in action’ to an end, keeping local communities safe.
Paul Marrion, South East Assistant Operations Director for the National Police Air, said:
“We are delighted to be able to build our new bespoke airbase at North Weald airfield. This decision will ensure that we can continue to support police forces across London and the South East in their efforts to protect people and property and to keep communities safe.
“Police air support is a vital tool available to police forces. Flying at average speeds of 138mph, searching for missing people or suspects by air is twenty times faster than other options and saves local police valuable time when it matters.”
Assets and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Anne Grigg said:
“North Weald Airfield has a long standing history of protecting our community since opening as an airfield in the 1st World War, and becoming a Battle of Britain airfield in the 2nd World War, providing a home to spitfires and hurricanes.
In later years the airfield expanded in to the jet age of the 1950’s and in recent times providing a base to vital services and welcoming aircrafts from all over the world.
The addition of the National Police Air Service is an exciting opportunity which will allow the vital service to carry out their much needed work, ensuring residents safety, which is our top priority.
They will be joining a range of aviation tenants at the airfield including The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance who have been operating successfully for several years.
I am proud of the contribution our airfield has made over the years and look forward to seeing this grow welcoming such important and valuable services.”
Work will begin on the base in January and is expected to be complete by November 2018.
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