What we do
The Metropolitan Police helicopters are aerial observation and communication platforms, providing an often-vital resource to officers across the Metropolitan Police area.
Each aircraft is crewed by a pilot and two police officers, called observers. Each observer has a different role in the aircraft, and between them and the pilot, an effective level of support is provided to police ground units.
The main activities undertaken by the Air Support Unit are described in this section.
Suspect searches are the most common request for the unit, whenever a suspect has gone into hiding in a particular area.
The presence of the aircraft allows the CCC supervisors to manage the pursuit in accordance with national guidelines.
During darkness all subjects, police, suspects and missing persons appear as a silhouette on the thermal image camera.
The crews have access to the firearms radio channel and work closely with armed units when assisting.
The crew will down-link live pictures to either the Central Communications Command or to small suitcase size mobile receivers.
This is done by the observer opening the door in flight, and then leaning out of the aircraft to take pictures.
This training enables the swift deployment of police dogs throughout the capital whenever they are needed.
The unit provides a wealth of information in various forms to enable the search advisors to perform their role.
The ASU are used to assist the Special Escort Group (SEG) with the transport of both VIPs and high-risk prisoner movements.