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Above The Law, Adventures in a Police Helicopter by Adrian Bleese

Code: 9781785632624
  • £9.99 (No VAT)
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Adrian Bleese spent twelve years flying on police helicopters, and attended almost 3,000 incidents, as one of only a handful of civilian air observers working anywhere in the world.

In Above The Law he recounts the most intriguing, challenging, amusing and downright baffling episodes in his career working for Suffolk Constabulary and the National Police Air Service. Rescuing lost walkers, chasing cars down narrow country lanes, searching for a rural cannabis factory and disrupting an illegal forest rave…they’re all in a day’s work.

It’s a side of policing that most of us never see, and he describes it with real compassion as he lives his dream job, indulging his love of flying, the English landscape and helping people. Perhaps more than anything, it’s a story about hope.



‘Cambridgeshire Police, what’s your emergency?’

‘I don’t know where I am and I think I’m dying.’

That was how today’s story started and it didn’t take long for those words to make their way to us, the helicopter crew. When the emergency phone line rings my heart starts to beat that little bit faster, I can feel the anticipation building. It’s a mix of excitement, knowing that in the next few minutes I’ll be airborne again, and apprehension, never sure if this is going to be life and death for someone. There’s no way of knowing what or where the next job will be: a car chase, an armed robbery, a drugs bust or a missing child. Today it’s Cambridgeshire passing on their concern for the welfare of the young lady who’d called 999 to say she was lost and dying.



‘An engaging and enjoyable read, offering a perspective on policing unlike any other you will have come across before’

John Sutherland, author of Blue and Crossing the Line

‘Hugely entertaining and enlightening – brilliant!’

Catherine Larner

‘Adrian takes us on a personal journey, filled with humour and anecdotes. This book provides a great insight into this exciting aspect of policing’

Richard Brandon, author of Police Helicopter Operations Manual


‘Adrian Bleese writes with real immediacy and warmth. He exhibits the dry, black humour so often evident in personnel within the emergency services, while also displaying a real compassion for the people whose lives he is observing, whether he is protecting them or pursuing them’

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‘An entertaining and enlightening account of a job that few of us will have considered as a career, but which Adrian Bleese always dreamed of doing. There’s much humour and warmth in his writing’

Suffolk Magazine

‘The ultimate police aviation book. Informative and full of pertinent humour, light but without losing the focus of a serious subject... What a delight it is’

Police Aviation News

‘Bleese’s account of everything from searching for missing to children to chasing cars and a whole bunch of other strange stuff he encountered during his 3,000 sorties is an interesting insight into a different world, its people and sometimes its politics’

Flyer Magazine

‘A wonderful read. Get a copy now!’

Helicopter Life

‘Well written, interesting and informative, told with an ironic, self-effacing sense of humour. I can confidently recommend it’

Andy Collins, No 206 Squadron Association

‘It felt like I did not have to read, but the book talked to me. If you are looking for an honest, from-the-heart tale, it’s a must-read’

B for Book Review

‘A genuinely absorbing read, written in an easy, jovial style, that showed me a side of the police service that I didn’t really know anything about. If you’re into occupational memoirs or interested in the police at all, then this has a lot to offer’

I Read Therefore I Blog


Adrian Bleese shares some of the stories from Above the Law with the Bury Free Press.

Adrian talks about his helicopter career to police author Iain Donnelly on the Tango Juliet Foxtrot podcast.

And here he is – from 41 mins – on the Flyer Livestream.



Adrian Bleese

Adrian Bleese was born and raised in the northwest of England before joining the Royal Air Force to fly on search-and-rescue and submarine-hunting missions. On leaving the RAF, he was stunned to discover that no one needed any submarines hunted and he was therefore forced to find a real job. Following some time working in advertising, he began working for Suffolk Constabulary and spent twelve years flying on police helicopters, attending almost 3,000 police tasks even though he was neither a policeman nor a pilot. He was one of only a handful of civilian air observers working anywhere in the world.

Flying and writing have been two of his lifelong abiding passions. He has had a monthly column in an aviation magazine and also written flight safety and aviation history features.

He has lived in East Anglia for more than twenty-five years, is a keen private pilot and has a great love for his adopted home, the countryside and its history. See more of his videos at

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