Why an aircraft registered to West Yorkshire crime commissioner topped Surrey airfield's out-of-hours logs

Flight records show an aircraft registered to West Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner was responsible for the most out-of-hours activity at an airfield in Surrey over the past four months.

Friday, 11th January 2019, 6:15 pm
Updated Friday, 11th January 2019, 6:19 pm
National Police Air Service helicopters are registered to West Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner.

Logs for out-of-hours movements published by Redhill Aerodrome detail 415 landings and take-offs registered to the PCC, peaking at 132 in September.

The data was highlighted by a member of the public concerned about the potential cost to taxpayers and baffled by the apparent high volume of visits by PCC Mark Burns-Williamson.

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But the aircraft responsible for the activity in Surrey is actually a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter.

Russ Woolford, NPAS’s assistant operations director for the south east, said Mr Burns-Williamson plays a leading role in its governance and chairs the NPAS National Strategic Board.

“Because NPAS is a concept rather than a legal entity, it cannot own property or employ people – this has to be done by the PCC for West Yorkshire and the Chief Constable for West Yorkshire Police on behalf of the rest of England and Wales,” he said.

“The Office of the PCC owns the airframes and the contracts under which NPAS operates, while the Chief Constable is the employer of the staff.”

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NPAS, a borderless air support with a national network of bases, is funded by each participating police force paying a proportionate contribution toward the overall delivery cost, based on its service use.