Title: The training and practice of crew resource management: an in vivo study of the UK National Police Air Service

Authors: Simon Ashley Bennett

Addresses: Civil Safety and Security Unit (CSSU), University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

Abstract: The UK National Police Air Service (NPAS) provides tactical air support to the police forces of England and Wales. Uniquely, crews are composed of civilian pilots and police officers [tactical flight officers (TFOs)]. Providing tactical air support makes big demands of pilots and TFOs. Threats include aerial hazards, marginal weather, no-notice re-tasking, malfunctions, attacks launched from the ground, a 12-hour shift and irregular meals. Mindful of the need to create flight-deck teams that are resilient, resourceful and, above all, effective, the NPAS jointly trains its pilots and TFOs in crew resource management (CRM). Behaviours trained in CRM ground-schools (such as methodical skepticism, mindfulness and canvassing) were observed on the flight-deck and were seen to impact performance. Joint training of pilots and TFOs in CRM, to the extent that it improves understanding and communication, may improve teamworking. Operators that separately train pilots and cabin crew in CRM should consider joint training. Further, operators should broaden the CRM training catchment to include dispatchers, engineers and other safety-critical personnel. Widening the catchment would acknowledge the systemic character of aviation (Harris and Stanton, 2010; Bennett 2019c). Further, it would acknowledge the Civil Aviation Authority's (2016) exhortation to improve inter-profession coordination. It is recommended that more inductive, in vivo studies of the flight-deck be conducted.

Keywords: police helicopters; inductive study; crew resource management; CRM; joint training; performance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2020.110090

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2020 Vol.7 No.3, pp.225 - 244

Received: 05 Nov 2019
Accepted: 23 Apr 2020

Published online: 23 Sep 2020 *

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