Telecoms union backs airwave over riot claims


Telecoms union backs airwave over riot claims

Prospect has refuted press reports that failures with the Airwave police radio network contributed to the slow police response to the August riots.

“The system certainly did not fail,” said Ben Marshall, Assistant General Secretary. “In fact, it held up very well under just the sort of extreme situation it is designed to cope with.

“There may have been delays in the police response on the ground – but that is no surprise since there were thousands of calls to the police on those nights, each of which clearly had to be prioritised. Human delays were inevitable but the technology worked very well.”

Although the press reports quoted over the weekend referred to a study by the Police Federation, the National Policing Improvement Agency has stated that the Airwave network ‘coped very well’ with communicating with 16,000 police officers.

Prospect represents the telecommunications engineers who work for Airwave and who developed the Airwave secure digital network in the aftermath of the July 2005 bombings in London. The system is probably the most advanced of its type anywhere in the world. It provides secure and effective communications for the emergency services in the UK and has been exported to many countries.