Polish Police Aviation
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Poland
Police Aviation

Current Title: Lotnictwo policji
Title in English: Police Aviation
Abbreviation: LP

History

Narrative Summary:
The first use of helicopters for "Police" purposes happened in the 1950s. Crews of Air Force SM-1 helicopters were employed to monitor the movements of smugglers and emigrating people in the border areas. This was really a semi-police task, because Poland already had a special squadron for border patrolling - the air unit of the Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza (Border Defence Army). So the real police task happened first in 1965 - two SM-2 and two Mi-4 from the Air Wing of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were employed searching for escaped prisoners. In 1972 there was a big re-organisation of Police and interior forces. The 103. Air Regiment of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MI) was established. Many helicopters belonged to this unit - SM-1, SM-2, Mi-2, Mi-8 etc... It provided air support for all MI units (Police, Fire Brigade, border patrols...).

The Milicja Obywatelska (Citizens' Militia) was the state police force in communist Poland. In 1990 it was transformed into a western-style policing force called the Policja. The first Police aviation unit was established on 22 May 1996. At this time the first independent bases of Police aviation were established in Krakow and Poznan, using new PZL Kania helicopters. In 2000 the 103. Air Regiment was abolished. Helicopters and aircraft were then re-allocated to the newly-formed Lotnictwo Policji (Mi-2, Mi-8, Bell-206, W-3A, PZL Kania), Straz Graniczna (PZL Kania, Mi-2, W-3 and PZL M-20) and to Army aviation (Bell 412, Mi-17). In 2001 the LP became a full member of the Police Air Support Units Networking Centre Europe.

Key Dates:
1965    First use of helicopters to support Police operations.
1972    103 Air Regt. established for Ministry of Internal Affairs use.
1990    Milicja Obywatelska becomes Policja.
22 May 1996    First Police Aviation Unit formed.
2000    103 Air Regt. disbanded, Police Aviation transferred to Police control.

Current Status:
The LP is a section of the Policja Panstwowa (State Police) which operates aviation units under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerstwo Spraw Wewietrnych). By Polish law, the main tasks of the LP are:
- Transport flights for special police forces (SWAT teams)
- Air monitoring of the traffic situation on roads
- Air support of police units, air control of large police activities
- Training of police units
- Cooperation with all possible units (police, fire brigade, mountain rescue service...)
- Support in big civil disturbances and demonstrations
- Preventive air monitoring
- Searching for lost or missing people
- Rescue flights in case of emergency
- VIP transport of state or government persons
- Localization and searching for forest fires
- Air escorting of protected vehicles
- Monitoring of offenders
- Looking for illegal drugs and alcohol production
- Monitoring of electrical power wires and pipelines (gas etc.) against illegal branch connections

Future Plans:
Nothing known.

Markings

National Insignia:

Fuselage Flash
The national flag is displayed on each side of the fuselage, in addition to a police insignia which comprises a star on a blue circle. The service title POLICJA is carried on the fuselage sides.

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
Police and Border Guard aircraft initially carried semi-civilian registrations with the prefix 'PL', e.g. PL-40XP. From December 2002 the prefix was changed to 'SN'. All Police aircraft now carry registrations in the SN-xxXP series, e.g. SN-05XP.

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
All LP helicopters also carry a letter-number code, e.g. A-014. The letter seems to indicate the home base, with A=Warsaw, B=Wroclaw etc while the number is an identity in the range 001 to 020, although 005 and 010 are used twice and several numbers are missing.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designation System(s):
None - Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Click on aircraft type for more details
Aircraft Type Total
Del'd
Total
Now
Role Origin
Bell 206B JetRanger 2 1 Policing USA
Mil Mi-2 5 5 Policing local
Mil Mi-8 2 2 VIP Transport/Policing Polish AF
PZL Kania 2 2 Policing local
PZL W-3 Sokol 2 2 Policing local

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order

Organisation

Main Headquarters:
Warsaw.

Current Organisational Structure:
Poland is divided up into 49 Regional Police Commands. Each major region will eventually form a Police Aviation Team (Lotnictwo Policyjne) and operate a helicopter. Teams are responsible to Zespol Lotnictwa Policyjnego, Komenda Wojewodzks Policji (Police Aviation Team, Wojewodztwo Police Command).

Current Order of Battle:
Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle:
Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List:
Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
The main base and central dispatching control is in Warsawa. Secondary bases are in Bialystok, Gdansk, Krakov, Lodz, Poznan, Rzeszov, Sczeczyn and Wroclaw. Many other bases are used, in association with the Border Guard (Straz Graniczna).

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
See above.

More Information

Books:

None known.

Magazines:

Air Forces Monthly December 1996
Fojtik, J., 'Lotnictwo Policji a Straz Graniczna', Letectvi and kosmonautika 10/2006

Websites:

Lotnictwo Policji

Lotnictwo.net

PZL Swidnik Kania

Airliners.net

Thanks to Jakub Fojtik for providing this information.

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First Created: 23 September 2006 - Last Revised: 23 September 2006
Copyright 2006 John Hayles.    e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk