Leicestershire Police goes wireless in emergency call centre

Leicestershire Police has switched to a wireless 999 call centre, believed to be the first in the UK, as part of its continuing review to improve processes and upgrade mission-critical equipment.

Jul 9, 2014
By Paul Jacques
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Leicestershire Police has switched to a wireless 999 call centre, believed to be the first in the UK, as part of its continuing review to improve processes and upgrade mission-critical equipment.

Wireless headsets have been introduced following a three-month trial in which they were used during live 999 calls.

Sennheiser, specialists in headset and unified communications solutions, has supplied 420 of its DW series headsets and 120 base units to the force.

With a 180m line of site range and fast charging that offers 12 hours of talk time from a full one-hour charge, and three hours from just ten minutes, the DW headset also offers effective hot-desking due to easy pairing with base stations, which also allows a command team to link in immediately to any call.

Up to four headsets can connect to one base unit, allowing instructors to train up to three operators at a time without trailing wires and complications, while a noise-cancelling microphone together with patented ActiveGard technology ensures calls remain clear at all times, at the same time protecting operators from unsafe audio levels that may occur in malicious calls.

The system is also future-proofed in the event that the force moves to a PC-based phone system.

Jane Timms, purchasing manager at Leicestershire Police, said they had to be certain that a wireless headset solution would be completely reliable.

“In a situation where a caller is reporting an ongoing emergency with life or death consequences, we cannot have a communications failure. The trial ran perfectly and overcame our initial reservations so we went ahead with the order.”

The headsets have proved so successful that additional units have been acquired for the Leicestershire Police mobile video van where mobility was a key advantage.

“The DW series allows the video van operators to move about inside the vehicle, which is a real advantage,” said Ms Timms.

“It’s a great reassurance to know that the hearing of our operators is protected against acoustic shocks, and the noise-cancelling is a definite benefit to our operators because it allows the caller to hear them clearly without the need for repetition, which is vital in any emergency situation.”

The benefits of the DW series mean that through improved training efficiency, Leicestershire Police anticipates a quick return on investment.

Ms Timms said the wireless headsets have improved flexibility “and above all proved to be been completely reliable in a mission-critical 999 emergency centre”.

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