Once again, I would like to express my sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Mark Campbell, the gentleman killed in the Nightingales last Wednesday. My thoughts are with them at this very difficult time. It was a senseless waste of a life in the most appalling circumstances.
In the midst of the evening, we had the police helicopter buzzing overhead. In the event, it became obvious why the helicopter was there.
However, I have done a little research. The helicopter which covers our area is based at Benson, Oxfordshire as part of the National Police Air Service, covering the Thames Valley, including us here in Berkshire.
Over the years, we’ve had it flying around here many times. It’s obvious that it’s the police helicopter because they are the only ones who hover. Often they hover in one spot. Sometimes they go round and round.
The helicopter costs an absolute fortune of taxpayers’ money to put in the air and is very disruptive. It makes an awful noise which changes and echoes as it goes round. It is most disconcerting, unsettling and, even, sinister for residents who are listening in their homes and asking themselves:
What is going on? Are we in danger? Is there a killer on the loose? Should I lock the garden gate? Should I stay up in case a madman tries to break into my house to escape the police?
But, as my neighbour said to me this week:
We never find out why it’s been flying around here.
(The exception being last Wednesday, when it was obvious).
Here’s the rub.
If we lived in Devon and Cornwall, the East Midlands, Essex, London, Newcastle, South and East Wales, the South East, Suffolk, West Midlands or West Yorkshire we would know why the helicopter was in the air, because the police helicopters in those areas all regularly tweet to let their residents know what they are up to.
Why does the Thames Valley police helicopter from Benson have a Twitter account – @NPAS_Benson – which has had zero tweets issued on it?
I think we should be told. West Berkshire residents deserve to know why their peace is being disrupted, why their money is being spent and what is going on in their neighbourhood when our local police helicopter is launched.
Here is my research on the use of Twitter accounts in the various areas of the National Police Air Service (all listed here):
Devon and Cornwall police – @DCP_Helicopter 53 tweets
East Midlands – @EMASUhelicopter – 2080 tweets
Essex – @NPAS_Boreham – 3951 tweets
Metropolitan – @MPSinthesky – 7997 tweets
Newcastle – @NPAS_Newcastle – 806 tweets
South and East Wales – @helicops – 6283 tweets
South East – @NPAS_Redhill – 2288 tweets
Suffolk – @NPAS_Wattisham – 449 tweets
West Midlands – @WMP_Helicopter – 7344 tweets
West Yorkshire – @NPAS_CarrGate – 7124 tweets
Central Counties – @AirOneHeli 955 tweets – Dormant since last November – only one tweet since then
South Yorkshire – @SYP_AirOps – 2629 tweets – Last update April
North West/Lancashire/North Wales – @NWCopter
Thames Valley – @NPAS_Benson
No Twitter account: