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M24 Air Support

1. Security protective marking

1.1 Not protectively marked.

1.2 This policy has a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which remains restricted under exemptions covered by the Freedom of Information Act.

2. Summary of changes to policy

2.1. The following changes were made to this policy on 01 October 2012:

    • Changes have been made to paragraph 5 due to the introduction of the National Policing Air Service.

2.2. This policy is due for review in October 2014.

3. Application

 3.1.This will apply to all officers and staff.


4. Purpose

4.1.To manage the use of air support assets within the county.


5. Introduction

5.1. With effect from 1 October 2012, all air assets within the country are centrally owned and come under the auspices of the National Police Air Service (NPAS).  

5.2  For the purposes of deployment and management of aircraft NPAS is operated by West Yorkshire Police Despatch & Flight Monitoring Centre (D&FMC) based at Dudley Hill, Bradford.

5.3  This means that Kent Police have entered into a collaborative agreement with NPAS to provide air support and allows Kent Police to have the opportunity to call upon NPAS for aircraft.

6. Air Support requests 

6.1. All requests for immediate air support will be directed to the Force Control Room.

6.2. Police Air Support Units (ASU) are crewed by highly experienced pilots and police air observers. The speed of deployment is critical to contributing to a positive outcome. All requests should be forwarded to the air support office as soon as possible for assessment.

6.3. If air support is required for a pre-planned event a request should be made for consideration to Force Resource Unit, Operational support, Coldharbour.


7. Restrictions placed upon the police using aircraft 

7.1. The regulating Authority in the UK relating to all aircraft use is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). All police air operations are governed by the CAA.


8. Aerial photography 


8.1. All requests for aerial photography will be directed to Headquarters Central Operations Group (COG). The force has the opportunity to undertake two types of aerial photography, covert or overt. A decision as to whether to deploy the aircraft or other aircraft will be made by COG staff (see policies N47 and N81).

8.2. The requesting department are responsible for obtaining the necessary authority (if required) in compliance with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (see policy N81).

8.3. No aerial deployment will be undertaken without due consideration being given and recorded in respect of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, Right to Privacy.

8.4. Aerial taskings are very much dependent upon weather conditions and the availability of aircraft and aircrew.

9. Retention and disposal of records

9.1. Documents mentioned in this policy will be retained for the period specified in the Disposal Schedule.

10. Equality impact assessment

10.1. This policy has been assessed with regard to its relevance to race and diversity equality. As a result of this assessment the policy has been graded as having a low potential impact.

10.2. Attached is the latest equality impact assessment that forms part of the policy review process.

Policy reference: M24 Air Support
Policy owner: Chief Superintendent Central Response
Contact point: Policy Unit
Date last reviewed: 01 October 2012
Document last saved: 28 March 2014