The Commissioner and Police Minister have been joined by a host of dignitaries to officially open the Aviation Command’s new headquarters at Bankstown Airport this morning.
Aviation Commander, Superintendent Matt Appleton, hosted NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, and officially opened the new facility during a COVID-safe ceremony and plaque unveiling today (Tuesday 3 November 2020).
Established in 1979, the Aviation Command has been providing aerial support to NSW Police operations and assisting with aviation investigations for more than four decades.
The command was initially based at Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith Airport before relocating to Bankstown Airport in 1991, where it was housed in three World War II hangars.
Over the years, Aviation Command’s fleet has grown in line with the needs of the Force and the community, resulting in operational requirements exceeding the capability of the previous base.
The new facility integrates hangar, maintenance, operations, training and administration functions in a single stand-alone building, with a superior location, layout and design for an effective State Emergency Response centre.
Further, the modern facility complies with new civil aviation safety regulations and allows for improved accessibility, visibility and mobility in policing operations and importantly, better service of the community.
Minister Elliott said the new facility is pivotal to the provision of world-leading aviation policing services for the people of NSW into the future.
“The Police Aviation Command’s current fleet of five helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft are now suitably housed in this top-quality aviation policing facility,” the Minister said.
“As part of the NSW Government’s commitment to a well-equipped police force, the fleet will undergo further modernisation over the next year, when it takes possession of three new Bell 429 helicopters – a machine which is synonymous with aerial law enforcement.
“Not only is this purpose-built, 25,000 square-metre facility designed for the current and future requirements of the Aviation Command, it offers enhanced capabilities to their delivery of aerial policing services across the state.”
Commissioner Fuller said the Aviation Command had come a long way since the commissioning of the original PolAir1 in 1979.
“The NSW Police Force entered a new phase of policing after receiving that first Bell 206B Jet Ranger III – it was our first taste of having an eye in the sky,” the Commissioner said.
“Fast forward 40 years, and the Aviation Command has a fleet of eight, and maintains responsibility for 130 drones, all of which provide aerial policing services across some 800,000 square-kilometres.
“Not only is this facility the home for the fleet, it is the epicentre of aerial law enforcement operations in NSW, providing support to first responders, surveillance, and investigations, including counter terrorism and organised crime.
“As the real benefactor of these enhancements, the NSW community can be confident that their police force will continue to improve its capabilities and provide policing services that are the envy of the world.”
The Aviation Command provides a highly visible policing presence to support land and sea operations, emergency rescues, major incident response, surveillance and reconnaissance, tactical operations, and counter terrorism and organised crime operations/investigations.
Further, the command also undertakes aviation investigations and maintains overall responsibility for the operations of the organisational fleet of Remote Piloted Aircraft (drones).
The new headquarters has a total development area of 25,000 square-metres, incorporating:
* Ten hangars
* Two levels of operational and administration office space, including pilot stand-down facilities
* Engineering facilities, including a heavy maintenance area and spray paint booth
* Helicopter winch simulator
* ‘FLIR’ simulator room
* CASA-approved training/proficiency/currency facilities
* Taxiways and aprons
* Parking and loading areas
* Dog-friendly facilities, including rest area (for joint operations with the Dog Unit)