Thanks to everyone who read and commented on this fledgling blog on its first day. 2700 hits already shows that there is great interest in this topic and an interest in the truth. So although it was supposed to be a one off piece to “get it off my chest” I have been tempted to add another small piece.
Thanks for reading, feel free to comment.
The helicopter picture above is the EC135 registration G-XM11 that used to patrol the skies of Merseyside before that Air Support Unit was disbanded more than a year ago. The reason it’s painted funny colours and has foreign writing on its side is that it has since been taken to Norway to enhance their police air cover following the mass murder tragedy committed by Anders Brevik. Apparently the Norwegians realised that their speed of response to that incident was not good enough and sought to improve it by getting more air cover. Amazing what has to happen before that penny drops.
Anyway XM11 is over there now. That aircraft was the one that the organised crime groups in Merseyside hated. They hated it so much they tried to destroy it twice in a year. If it wasn’t for the brave actions of her crew on the first night they would have succeeded. Masked raiders gained access to RAF Woodvale where XM11 was based, they smashed her windows and poured petrol inside her cab at which point three very annoyed police aircrew came screaming from the office waving any “weapons” they had to hand and despite threats of extreme violence from the raiding party of scallys they chased them off as one of them tried to get his lighter to work and torch the aircraft. Fortunately another aircraft from a neighbouring force responded to a call for help and shortly afterwards chased the fleeing suspects in a high speed pursuit into Liverpool city centre. When the car eventually crashed the suspects were arrested.
ANYONE REMEMBER THIS FROM YESTERDAY? Chief Constable Alex Marshall said of the old system: “Artificial boundaries have meant that helicopters are restricted to operating within their own force area”
Following that incident the aircraft was kept inside its hangar during the hours of darkness and brought out when responding to jobs. This slowed the response time by a few minutes but did provide some additional security (along with other measures) Unfortunately more scally raiders appeared some months later and stole a firetruck from another part of the airfield and rammed it into the steel hangar doors so hard that they were pushed inwards and contacted the aircraft causing more damage. The result of these attempts to destroy XM11 meant she was offline for a matter of a couple of weeks in total which was bad but no more than a routine annual service.
This wasn’t the first time in Merseyside air support history that criminals (who hate police helicopters) tried to destroy their aircraft. A number of years previously the previous aircraft was attacked with petrol bombs in it’s former home of Liverpool Airport.
In the end it took a government plan to get rid of the Merseyside based aircraft, the local crime gangs had been trying to do it for over a decade.
Merseyside are not the only force to have had their aircraft attacked – this is because they seriously get in the way of people wishing to commit serious crime
On 30 April 2009, the Surrey Police helicopter was put out of action by vandals.
On 8 June 2009, the West Midlands Police helicopter (G-WMAO) was destroyed by arsonists.
On October 1st 2012 The Herts and Bedfordshire Police helicopter XA99 was removed from service as a result of cuts under NPAS. Those that flew in her left a tribute on Youtube showing her last flight. Worth watching for the special technique the guys up there seem to have developed for coming into land with their rotors completely stationary 🙂
Did I mention how much criminals HATE police helicopters?