Feeds

Tube still lacks emergency comms

But Airwave's due August 2008

Business security measures using SSL

Two years after the 7 July bombings police radios still fail to work in the underground, a London Assembly committee said.

A report (pdf) from the London Assembly has found that two years on from the 7 July terrorist attacks, the capital's emergency services are still without a digital radio system that works on the underground network.

Richard Barnes, chair of the assembly's 7 July Review Committee, said: "Our report highlights continuing problems with Airwave that need to be tackled to ensure emergency services personnel have access to the robust and effective communications system they need."

Airwave, a national digital radio system for police, fire crews and paramedics, is due to operate below ground level by August 2008.

Barnes told BBC's Today programme: "There is a roll out programme [for Airwave] but that is behind schedule. There are interim solutions but they don't seem to be prepared to apply them."

Without an interim solution, such as the personal role radios used by the army and police, emergency workers would be unable to communicate in London Underground's deep tunnels during another terrorist attack.

Better communications were called for at the end of the 1980s by the Fennell report into the King's Cross Underground fire. Barnes told Today that the technology is available, but the Fennell report was put into the "too hard to do tray".

Overall the report, published today, found "significant and welcome progress" on the review committee's recommendations.

Despite technical problems, a new radio system for drivers is on schedule for use across the underground by the end of the year.

Feedback from drivers on the Connect radio has been positive, according to the report. Connect has made communications clearer and more reliable, drivers said.

Fire fighters now have a new coding system, which enables them to identify the precise location of incidents on London Underground, says the report. The London Ambulance Service can also use the system and the Metropolitan Police are working with the fire brigade to gain access to the system.

Transport and emergency services are improving communications between managers attending emergencies and their control rooms. This includes a better system for gathering and communicating key information via the police service to other authorities.

The committee will carry out a further review of progress in implementing its recommendations in November. It will focus especially on the roll out of Airwave.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.