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Protecting our skies

Although North Yorkshire has no major airports, we do have a number of airfields and landing sites in the countryside and or on farmland. All of these sites could potentially be accessed by criminals seeking to bring people or goods into the country illegally, and need to be policed.

Complying with the Terrorism Act 2000

Under the Terrorism Act 2000 (as amended by the Crime and Security At 2001) all aircraft entering or leaving the mainland of Great Britain to or from Northern Ireland, Eire, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (the Common Travel Area or CTA) must call at a designated airfield.

The exception to this rule is if the pilot gives the police force in the landing area/departing area at least 12 hours’ notice in writing of the intention to use a non-designated airfield.  This allows various security checks to be completed and gives the police time to examine the aircraft and crew (under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act) if that is necessary.  The obligation to give this notice is imposed on the captain of the aircraft, and it is an offence to fly without such notice being given.

North Yorkshire does not have any designated airfields, so if you are intending to land or depart from an airfield in North Yorkshire, the pilot or captain MUST submit the necessary written notice (which is a completed page one of the General Aviation Report, known as a GAR) at least 12 hours in advance of the flight.

There are two ways of submitting the GAR:

  1. By using the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association UK online service (click on the link on the right hand of this page to go to their website).  This method will automatically direct the notification to the appropriate agency.
  2. By downloading the North Yorkshire Police GAR form (available at the bottom of this page), completing it and returning to North Yorkshire Police by one of the following methods:
    • Email:  between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday email to specialbranch@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk, outside of these times email force.control@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk
    • Fax: on fax number 01609 789 183
    • Post: to HQ Special Branch, North Yorkshire Police HQ, Newby Wiske, Northallerton, DL7 9HA

Please note that North Yorkshire Police does not, as a matter of course, copy on the GAR to other agencies (such as the UK Border Force), so we recommend that you advise these agencies separately (as per their legal requirements) of any notifications sent to us.

Short notice flights

If you need to fly at very short notice, you should use a designated airfield.  Leeds/Bradford, Durham Tees Valley or Blackpool are the generally preferred options.

Project Pegasus

Project Pegasus logo

North Yorkshire Police is taking part in Project Pegasus – a special initiative that aims to create a hostile environment for terrorists, organised criminals and those who take part in activities such as illegal immigration and smuggling.

As part of Project Pegasus, we collect and exchange intelligence with border policing partners, and use various techniques to enhance awareness and detection of criminals and potential terrorist activists.

How can you help Project Pegasus?

If you see any activity or behaviour in  or around an airfield that you feel is suspicious, you should:

Where appropriate we will use this information to circulate urgent information and intelligence updates. At times of heightened risk or threat level, we may wish to contact you with specific reports and request that you assist us in observing and reporting for a particular individual, group or aircraft.

 Possible signs of criminal or terrorist activity

  1. Tests of security – attempts to test security and response times when entering restricted areas.
  2. Surveillance – individuals taking pictures and making notes; prolonged activity in one area.
  3. Equipment – individuals buying unusual equipment, chemicals, uniforms, badges etc.
  4. Suspicious characters – people who are clearly not local and whose actions do not ft into the daily routine of the area.

Things to consider: pilot / crew / passenger

  • Are the pilots flying qualifications and identification correct and genuine?
  • Are the pilot / crew / passengers behaviour / queries / questions as you would expect them to be or suspicious?
  • Are there regular breaches of aviation / safety regulations?
  • Are there unusual methods of payment or transactions by or between the pilot / passengers / crew?

Things to consider: aircraft

  • Is the aircraft safe and being used legally?
  • Is there suspicious or unusual activity of people or vehicles around aircraft?
  • Is there incorrect or unusual operation or appearance of the aircraft?
  • Is there a deviation from the normal use of the aircraft by the owner or operator?

Things to consider: airfield / aerodrome

  • Is the airfield / aerodrome being used unnecessarily in adverse weather conditions or in darkness?
  • Is there poor airmanship regularly on display?
  • Are there regular unexpected or last minute diversions to the airfield / aerodrome?
  • Are there unusual aircraft movements outside normal hours?

Get to know your airfield / aerodrome and the people who use it.

Terrorists and criminals can be stopped

Think S.K.I.E.S:

  • Stay alert, not alarmed
  • Know your environment / workplace
  • Intelligence is everyone’s responsibility
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Suspicious activity; see it, record it, report it!

Remember, if you observe suspicious activity:

  • Do not take direct action.
  • Do not confront the individual.
  • Do not reveal your suspicions.
  • Do record as many details as possible.
  • Do notify appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

Try to take note of the following:

  • Who did you observe?
  • What did you see? Be specific.
  • Where did you see it?
  • When did you see it?
  • Why is it suspicious?

North Yorkshire Police General Aviation Report (GAR) form[pdf]