In the event of an emergency, including a terrorist attack, the need for the emergency services to communicate is an essential part of keeping the public safe. We are greatly concerned that the start date for the new system for communication (the Emergency Services Network) is not only delayed but is not likely to be deliverable. The Home Office was running the planned programme to ambitiously tight deadlines which have now slipped. The Department’s contingency measure to manage the transition to the new system was to extend Airwave month by month until the new system was in place. The news that part of the existing Airwave system will be taken out of service early strikes a major, potentially catastrophic, blow to the ability of our emergency services to carry out their job and keep citizens safe. In addition, it now seems inevitable that taxpayers will also be paying substantial additional sums, with no certainty of delivery. The change of leadership with a new Permanent Secretary at the Home Office adds to our concerns.
18 April 2017