Communication improved at major incidents

Communication improved at major incidents

April 2009

Police forces nation-wide are training special advisors to ensure communication over Airwave is highly effective during major incidents.

The initiative means officers are trained to understand and tap into the full capability of Airwave, the communications service now used by all police forces and a host of other public safety responders including fire and ambulance.

Trevor Evans, Airwave Training Manager at the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), said: “Too often in the past, poor communication has hampered major incident response. Airwave was established partly in response to this issue, so it’s important that the police and other organisations understand how to use it most effectively when handling major incidents.”

Siobhan Scott, Interoperability Manager at Airwave, said: “In the interest of public safety it makes sense for the police and other responders to make the best use of Airwave at all times, not least during major incidents.”

Sgt Nick Shaw is one of three Nottinghamshire Police officers to complete the training, and he regularly puts his new skills into practice.

Shortly after attending the course he arranged the Airwave communications between officers involved in a high profile prisoner escort across three counties. Prisoner escorts require constant co-ordination between different police forces and those escorting the prisoner to ensure that the prisoner does not escape and that the public is protected along the escort route.

Before Sgt Shaw and his colleagues were made aware of the capabilities of Airwave they would have been involved in making complex arrangements to communicate with each other and the force areas through which the convoy was to pass.

However, by understanding the flexibility of Airwave they were able to put in place appropriate communications for all officers involved in the operation and all were able to communicate seamlessly and effectively.

Sgt Shaw said: “The course really helped to raise awareness of what was possible in terms of the flexibility of Airwave to communicate in different ways with different groups. In the case of the prisoner escort it meant that we were able to co-ordinate the operation more effectively, monitoring the progress of the convoy at all times.”

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