Cleveland Air Operations Unit

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Eurocopter EC-135 G-NESV of the Cleveland Police.

The Cleveland Air Operations Unit (CAOU) is the air support/operations unit for the Cleveland Police force.


Between 1995 and 2009 Cleveland Police was a member of the North East Air Support Unit which was a consortium with Durham and Northumbria police forces. The agreement fell apart over funding and location issues so Cleveland Police bought their own helicopter with funds coming from the Cleveland Police Authority and the government.[1]

The Cleveland Air Operations Unit was officially declared operational on 1 April 2009. The helicopter is based at Durham Tees Valley Airport.[1]

In 2010, the Chief Constables of all of the United Kingdom's Police Forces agreed to pool resources and create the National Police Air Service. Under this framework, it was announced that bases and helicopters would be shared across force boundaries with a model to reduce from 31 bases down to 22.[2] In February 2015, it was announced that this reduction would cut further with a move towards 15 national locations with the Cleveland Police helicopter becoming surplus ro requirements in the 2016/2017 financial year.[3]


The Cleveland Air Operations Unit has one helicopter:

2009–2010 Eurocopter EC-135T1, registration G-NESV.

2010–current Eurocopter EC-135P2, registration G-CPAS . Based at Durham Tees Valley Airport / EGNV.

Its police call sign is "India 55". ATC call-sign is "Police 06"


The helicopter supports numerous areas of operational policing such as providing video footage, which is vital in directing officers and other emergency services during major incidents. This technology also enables the police to capture evidence effectively.

The aircraft is equipped with thermal imaging cameras for locating criminals and missing people.[4]

The helicopter may also be called on to transport people with life-threatening injuries to hospital, when the Great North Air Ambulance is unavailable.

The helicopter unit has appeared on Channel 5's Interceptor programme alongside their ground based colleagues. The last section of filming has taken place over the end of 2015 and into the start of 2016 for an as yet to be announced transmission programme.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Walker, Dani (3 April 2009). "Whirling into a new era of policing from the sky". Darlington & Stockton Times. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Background". National Police Air Service. National Police Air Service. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "The National Police Air Service has confirmed plans to move to a 15-base model". National Police Air Service. National Police Air Service. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Helicopter Unit". Cleveland Police. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  5. ^ Webber, Chris (11 December 2015). "Channel 5's Police Interceptors TV programme to once again focus on Cleveland and Durham". Darlington & Stockton Times. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 

External links[edit]