Concern at Airwave switch-off

Concern has been raised that Airwave’s coverage could fall across England, Wales and Scotland if O2 – the company supplying the network – axe the number of masts that support the network.

Apr 21, 2006
By David Howell
The Anglo Arms Panther 175lb hunting crossbow used by Andrew Randeem

Concern has been raised that Airwave’s coverage could fall across England, Wales and Scotland if O2 – the company supplying the network – axe the number of masts that support the network.

The company has discussed the possibility that up to 140 masts could be taken out of service, but O2 insists that if they did go ahead with their plans this reduction in masts would have no effect on the coverage or efficiency of the service as it stands at the moment.

Representatives of O2 have said that if a force wanted a mast switched back on this could attract an additional cost.

Paul Lewis, secretary of the health and safety committee of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Any judgement call over the future of masts has to be carried out taking into account the safety of police officers at all times, and this can only be done if forces carry out a proper risk assessment. It would not be acceptable to put officers` lives at risk for the sake of a few pounds.”

A spokesperson for O2 has stated that discussions would take place with each force before any masts were removed, and added “We have to run an efficient network and have found we can do that by taking out certain sites. Only when the customer is completely reassured will site removal go on.”

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