I am Mel Jeffrey, a Tactical Flight Officer on NPAS 23 the Lancashire based aircraft of the National Police Air Service.
It has been my pleasure to introduce and run the ASU Pact meetings for the last 7 years, and produce the newsletters that you tell me you enjoy so much. Do you know when you have a job like mine it is so easy to tell you all about my marvellous job and what we are up too because I enjoy it so much. Now I’m approaching retirement I just thought I’d bring you up to speed with the success of our PACT meetings.
PACT was set up to not only to engage with the public but to stay in touch with officers on the ground who rarely got the chance to find out what we are all about and what we can and can’t do. To some we have had to explain, the camera isn’t an x-ray machine that it can’t see through walls, if it’s foggy and they can’t see, then neither can we, etc.
The Pact meetings started with just 7 people and this has grown to at the last meeting 50+ people. We have representatives from all over Lancashire, from Neighbourhood Watch, Volunteers groups, people just interested in our work, to Police Officers, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Air Ambulance, the NHS, Councillors, Schools, Coastguard, Mountain Rescue and the Lifeboats just to name a few who have helped me bring Air Support to everyone.
Throughout the last few years we have guest speakers who interact with the helicopter graciously come to the meetings and tell us all about their work and how we can assist. This in itself has boosted a greater working relationship between different agencies because we now know a little more about each’s needs and ways.
From the Pact meetings, a newsletter was established on a quarterly basis which has been a great success. I love doing the newsletter as it gives me the chance to see what the boys have been doing and pick the “best bits” for you to read. We regularly turned out to carry out presentations to schools, clubs and groups of all ages to show our work. I’m sure any one attending these presentations only really wanted to see videos of our work rather than listen to me droning on!!
A website was formed and we appeared on several local neighbourhood sites, predominately promoting the newsletter. As we moved into NPAS, the newsletter has continued and we have gone all 21st century with a Twitter account and Facebook page. Fairly soon there will an NPAS website for you up and running so for anyone with an interest in Air Support you can look at all the Units around the country and how they work.
The changes in Air Support have been immense. Lancashire is celebrating its 20th birthday on the 21st November 2014 and I have been lucky enough to have been involved in Lancashire Air Support and through the transition to North West Regional ASU and now for the last 20 months with NPAS. The changes in technology as you all know in your own homes over 20years have gone beyond all our expectations. I can’t imagine where we will be in another 20 years.
I hope you will continue to enjoy the newsletter next year when PC Andy Barlow takes over and that you will when PACT is reinvented continue to support it like you always have.
Thank you to every one once again who has shown an interest in Air Support and for your continued support. Long may it continue.