Dorset Police Air Operations is a front
line policing unit supporting the two divisions through the
provision of a rapid response.
From its operating base at
headquarters, Oscar 99 can be at the scene of an incident anywhere
in the force area in approximately 12 minutes.
The unit's main function is to
provide an 'eye in the sky' in support of ground based units. In
addition to this general support it can also:
- Conduct searches for criminals or missing persons using the
fully equipped McDonnell Douglas (MD902) helicopter.
- Assist in the containment of an incident
- Provide transportation of specialist personnel, and provide
scene commanders with an overview of events as they are happening,
via a live video down link facility.
The Air Support Unit has eight
full-time observers and is managed by a Sergeant as its Unit
Executive Officer. Another Sergeant occupies the joint roles of
Deputy Executive Officer and Unit Training Officer.
The unit employs civilian pilots
via Police Aviation Services Limited, a company that specialises in
meeting the pilotage and maintenance requirements of police air
support units. A Chief Pilot and two Line Pilots cover the unit's
The unit personnel work closely
with other emergency services and have undergone extensive training
with Dorset Ambulance Trust. The Trust has supplied various items
of specialist equipment which are fitted and carried, including a
defibrillator, oxygen cylinders, and a heated stretcher. Paramedics
are able to fly with the unit to treat patients en route to
hospital. The aircraft has been, and continues to be used in this
life-saving role regularly.
The unit's principal aim is to
enhance frontline policing by providing a fast, efficient and
effective service in support of front line staff.
To see FAQ about this subject please click