Planning permission for the National Police Air Service (NPAS) purpose built airbase at North Weald Airfield was granted by district councillors at Plans East meeting on Wednesday 6 December.
Keeping local communities safe
The new NPAS airbase will replace an existing facility at Lippitts Hill in High Beach and form part of their national network of 15 bases providing air support to the 46 police forces of England and Wales.
2 police helicopters and a police aeroplane will regularly fly out of the new airbase, operating 24/7 primarily serving London and the South East, with support from additional airbases at Boreham Airfield near Chelmsford, Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey and RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.
Crews in these aircraft regularly support police colleagues on the ground to find missing people and search for suspects. They provide an aerial view supporting local police at major events and help other police forces bring ‘crimes in action’ to an end, keeping local communities safe.
A long standing history of protecting our community
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. It became a vital Battle of Britain airfield in the 2nd World War, providing a home to RAF 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 aircraft from all over the world.”
Important and valuable services
Councillor Grigg continued: “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 as it continues to grow, we welcome these important and valuable services.”
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 20 times faster than other options and saves local police valuable time when it matters.”