NPAS helps fight rural crime

Posted on 11 January, 2022 by Advance 

A National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter crew from the the NPAS base at RAF Benson, has recently been providing assistance in the fight against rural crime in the Basingstoke area of Hampshire.


Photo taken in Hampshire.
Courtesy NPAS

A police helicopter crew had a busy night supporting local forces in their fight against rural crime – assisting in the arrest of 13 people in two separate incidents and proving its value in night-time searches.

Just two days after the Government’s announcement to introduce tougher sentencing and improved police powers to tackle hare coursing, crews from the National Police Air Service’s Benson base were successfully deployed to support local forces respond to reports of rural crime.

The capability of police air support to search large areas of ground quickly and track suspects is proven to be a valuable resource in tackling rural crime.

Chief Inspector of NPAS Operations, Warren Pitman, said: “The ability of our helicopter crews to search large areas very quickly, with the added advantage of lighting and thermal imaging equipment to assist at night time, makes them a valuable resource, especially when working in rural areas.

“Our officers are able to directly communicate with officers on the ground and live stream their video footage into force control rooms. This combined effort means that it is difficult to evade detection. We are pleased to be able to support forces across England and Wales in their drive to combat rural crime.”

At around 10.30pm on Thursday 6th January 2022, the NPAS Benson crew were informed of reports of poaching in the Basingstoke area of Hampshire.

Within nine minutes of taking off, they arrived at the scene and located a suspect vehicle. After a quick search of the nearby area the Tactical Flight Officer directed officers from Hampshire to the location of four suspects, who were detained. They were arrested on suspicion of trespassing on land at night and taking/destroying game. Total air support tasking time was 19 minutes.

The same evening, the crew were asked to support officers at Thames Valley Police in a suspected hare coursing incident. Nine people aged between 16 and 30 were arrested. A number of dogs were also seized. Total air support tasking time was one hour and 45 minutes.