In 2013, Willie Rennie MSP (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Scottish Liberal Democrats) asked the Scottish Government what the position was on the role of the civil air patrol service in carrying out extended searches and about what discussions it had had with the service regarding its future role. (S4W-18227).
Kenny MacAskill replied that the Scottish Government valued the contributions of volunteers, including Civil
Air Patrol members to resilience and emergency response work, and that it had been in discussion with Civil
Air Patrol, Police Scotland and the Civil Aviation Authority on the issue.
The Scottish Government and
Police Scotland had asked the Civil Aviation Authority to determine measures necessary to be taken to
remove any regulatory barriers to Police Scotland tasking Civil Air Patrol to assist in search operations.
Mr Rennie also asked the Scottish
Government what its position was on Police Scotland’s then decision to no longer use the civil air patrol
service and what discussions it had had with Police Scotland regarding that. (S4W-18228).
Mr MacAskill replied that tasking decisions on the use of particular assets are operational matters for
The Scottish Government and Police Scotland had asked the Civil Aviation Authority to determine
what measures could be taken to remove any existing regulatory barriers to Police Scotland working
with the Civil Air Patrol service.
Since then not much progress appears to have been reported and just this week we have had the horrible news of a crashed car going unnoticed for 3 days despite at least one report to a control room. Mr Rennie has commented on the tragedy but even he has failed to connect the matter with his his earlier questions, which he does not appear since to have pursued anyway.
Now, lines of sight are an interesting topic - I can quite see why someone sitting in a car, a police patrol car for example, might not see a crashed vehicle lying below his line of vision below a bank.
But I also know that the perspective chances quite considerable from a more elevated position - from an aircraft flying overhead, for example. In the case in point, woodland may have obscured even that line of sight.
None of this is a good reason for Police Scotland to not work with the Civil Air Patrol. The Police do so in England.