Airwave now operational in London Underground

Wednesday, 14 January, 2009

Airwave, Great Britain's public safety solutions provider has today announced the completion of the rollout of its TETRA network in the London Underground. Airwave has completed its deployment to all 125 belowground London Underground stations. This now means that British Transport Police (BTP), Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the City of London Police, are able to use the same radios underground.

Airwave now provides police communications in London Underground stations across the network, above and below ground, improving safety for the public and the emergency and public safety services. With the Airwave system, all police officers are able to communicate above and underground allowing them to operate much more effectively during incidents.

Airwave was awarded the contract to provide access to its TETRA network in January 2007. The rollout, managed by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has seen it link its network to London Underground's Connect digital radio system, part of the Transport for London's £10m investment programme. The rollout is in accordance with the recommendations of the London Assembly's report into the London bombings of 2005 which stated that improved public safety communications underground was vital for successful emergency response to similar incidents. The roll-out was completed within budget ahead of schedule.

Police Minister Vernon Coaker said:

"The Airwave system plays a vital part in keeping passengers safe. It allows police officers to communicate with each other quickly and safely to ensure an effective response to any incident.

"I am very pleased to announce that the system is now fully functioning ahead of schedule, helping frontline officers build on the excellent work they already do to tackle crime.

"Crime is down on the Underground and with the roll-out of Airwave; passengers can feel even more confident that every effort is being made to keep them safe as they travel around the Capital."

Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, Chief Executive of the NPIA said:

"Extending Airwave to the London underground is a major step forward in protecting the public and supporting frontline police officers. Clear police radio communication is vital for an effective emergency service.

"Police officers need to be able to speak to each other and other emergency services at all times to ensure a swift and co-ordinated response to any incident."

Managing Director of London Underground, Tim O'Toole said:

"London Underground (LU) and the Home Office together with partners had the foresight to fund works to facilitate the link-up between Airwave and our new radio system prior to the Airwave contract being signed because of the benefits we knew it would deliver. It is a great achievement that not only has Airwave been delivered across the Tube network but that it has been delivered five months ahead of schedule.

"We continue to work extremely hard with the police and security services to keep the Tube as safe as possible."

Deputy Chief Constable of British Transport Police, Andy Trotter said:

"Radio communications underground has been key to helping the BTP protect the public in the London underground.

"This initiative will enable the police service to further improve on this by enabling better communication between forces. This approach will help tackle more crime, improve frontline policing, public safety and increase public confidence."

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London said:

"The completion of Airwave is good news for Londoners as it further increases the ability of our emergency services to operate on the underground network. Our police service will now have radio coverage at all 125 below ground Underground stations, which allow them to work ever more effectively."

Tony McNulty, Minister for London said:

"One of the key lessons from the London bombings of 2005 was the need to enhance the resilience of responders' telecommunications systems and communication underground. I am therefore delighted to see that this system is now fully in place, ahead of schedule, with the result that London is even more resilient and better prepared."

Richard Bobbett, CEO at Airwave, said:

"The requirement for the emergency services to have a communications system that can operate at underground stations and tunnels cannot be overstated. We have taken our responsibility very seriously during this deployment to ensure that the service was rolled out at as quickly and as comprehensively as possible. To meet this schedule on budget and ahead of time is a great achievement for Airwave, the NPIA and the London Underground teams."

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