2 Nov 2009 10:48 AM
Multi-million pound security boost for London 2012 games

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 02 November 2009

A multi-million pound boost to the emergency services radio communication system has been awarded as the countdown to the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games reaches 1,000 days, the Home Office announced today.

This significant step in safety and security planning came as the Home Office made a £39 million investment in Airwave - the radio communication system used by the police and other emergency services.

The investment will fund an increase in the capability of the system in time for the 2012 Games which will mean it can cater for thousands more users from within the police, fire and ambulance services.

Security Minister Lord West said:

"The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games promise to be among the greatest sporting events in history. And our investment in the Airwave system underlines our commitment to a safe and secure Games.

"Investing now means the Airwave network system can be thoroughly tested before 2012 and will ensure it remains resilient during Games-time."

This expansion to the radio communication system used by the police and other emergency services will benefit all 2012 host venue police forces, fire and ambulance services as well as other counties which are hosting 2012 events or athletes' training camps.

Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, Chief Executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, said:

"Extending Airwave coverage to meet the needs of the emergency services for the London 2012 Games is a major step forward in protecting the public and supporting frontline police officers.

"Clear and secure radio communication is vital for an effective emergency service and will be critical to the delivery of a safe and secure Games. Enabling joint communication between police, fire and ambulance services this new agreement - together with Airwave in the London Underground, will provide robust support to help ensure a swift and co-ordinated response to any incident."

This investment and upgrade is a part of a programme of work, funded by the Home Office's Olympic and Paralympic Security Directorate, to establish the operational needs of police and other emergency services and ensure they are met ahead of Games-time.

Chris Allison Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said:

"An effective radio system is vital to the delivery of a safe and secure 2012 Games.

"The investment in the Airwave system is a significant step in achieving this aim and will benefit all emergency services."

Richard Bobbett, Chief Executive of Airwave, said:

"Over the next three years we'll be working closely with the Home Office, NPIA and Metropolitan Police Service to ensure Airwave plays its part in securing the London 2012 Games.

"Fulfilment of this contract will mean we have to bring to life a number of innovations, both from a technological and a network management point of view.

"We do not underestimate the challenge ahead but are proud of our track record in providing mission critical communications to the police and other emergency services, helping them to be effective in safeguarding the public."

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. A contract was signed on Friday 23 October between Airwave Solutions Ltd and the National Police Improvement Agency for the enhancement of the Airwave radio service, which provides core radio communications for police, fire and ambulance services.

2. A summary of the overall requirements

* capacity to support the additional policing requirements at all Olympic venues

* coverage within Olympic venues

* capability to support public order operational activities involving several thousand officers within confined geographical locations

* capability to ensure business as usual activities are not compromised

* capability to address the risk of a spontaneous major incident whilst continuing to support business as usual and Olympics requirements

3. For more information contact the Home Office Press Office on 020 7035 3535

4. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Safety and Security Strategy can be found at the following link: http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk/counter-terrorism-strategy/olympics2012/

215/2009

Contacts:

Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535
NDS.HO@coi.gsi.gov.uk