Since its beginnings in 1921 when the police first used an airship flying over the Epsom Derby to manage traffic, police aviation in the UK has evolved to become a key element of law enforcement in the 21st Century. Nearly 100 years on, Haynes is marking the incredible achievements of the police air support units by publishing the Police Helicopter Operations Manual.
The book tells how NPAS has now brought all 43 forces in England and Wales together to deliver a borderless police aviation capability countrywide, and takes an in-depth look London’s Metropolitan Police Service Air Support Unit (ASU). It also features a series of exciting case studies of typical air support missions to showcase the police helicopters in action.
In the manual, author Inspector Richard Brandon, who entered air support policing in 2002 and was the head of the Met Police Air Support Unit between 2012 and 2015, describes the evolution of police aviation and reveals how the Met’s ASU operates. He also examines how police helicopters work, including the Eurocopter EC135 and EC145, while taking an in-depth look at the onboard surveillance equipment and systems. These include the Wescam MX15 camera, Skyforce Observer moving map, Video Management System, Vislink digital downlink, and Airwave digital police radios.
At the ‘sharp end’, the various roles of police helicopter crews are described in the book. These include the tactics they use on operational sorties – search, pursuit, public order and the use of infrared technology.
Calling upon his extensive police aviation experience gained while working with Met’s ASU, Richard steps behind the scenes to reveal what makes it all possible – crew recruitment, selection and training, helicopter maintenance, despatch and flight following.
Talking about the book, Richard said, “It has been a real honour to put together the Haynes Police Helicopter Operations Manual, and I hope that readers will consider me qualified to write it given my wealth of experience working in police aviation. Throughout my time working in air support, I was always amazed by the response that we received when we opened the door to the public and showed them inside our role.
“I was fortunate to be involved with the filming of two series of Sky Cops for the BBC and pioneered the use of social media to engage with the public and explain what the police helicopter was doing. The interest the public had shown in air support was constantly building and as such, we were always inundated with questions about the helicopter and its equipment and crew, this left me feeling that there was a real opportunity for an informative book on this subject. With that in mind, the manual is intended to provide accessible and unique insights into the vital role played by police aviation in modern law enforcement.
“The book certainly lifts the lid on police aviation, and I hope that it will inspire the next generation of police officers, police pilots and TFOs.”
Richard concluded, “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the great number of people who have helped and supported me in gathering the photos and information needed to tell the story of police aviation. I should add that this book is dedicated to the memory of the brave men and women who have lost their lives while delivering air support who we thank for their service.”
The manual is supported by more than 200 photographs and illustrations, many of which are seen in print for the first time.
Police Helicopter Operations Manual joins three other manuals in the Haynes portfolio which cover emergency services. These include Air Ambulance, Fire Fighter and Combat Medicine.
Police Helicopter Operations Manual is priced at £25.00 in the UK and available from www.haynes.com. The book number is H6570. The ISBN is 9781785215704.
Information courtesy of Haynes Publishing.