Airwave cop-comms to be 'brought to life' for Olympics
'U-turn' West coughs up £39m for Games upgrades
The Home Office has announced a £39m deal to upgrade its Airwave emergency-services comms net in and around the 2012 Olympics venues, allowing it to handle "several thousand users within confined geographical locations". Contractors described the requirement as "challenging", but anticipated meeting it by Games time.
The contract, announced yesterday with 1,000 days to run until the Games' opening ceremony, will see the National Policing Improvement Agency pay Airwave Solutions £39m for Olympic-specific upgrades. Extra Airwave kit will be installed in Olympic and Paralympic venues so as to offer comms to the large extra police and other emergency-services contingents dealing with the Games - to the point of "several thousand" Airwave users all communicating at once within small areas.
In addition, the Airwave net is to be made capable of coping with a "spontaneous major incident" on top of Olympic and everyday requirements.
"We do not underestimate the challenge ahead," said Richard Bobbett, bossman at Airwave.
"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."
Everyone's favourite knockabout security minister, Admiral Lord Alan "U-Turn" West - aka "Lord Bournemouth"* to his erstwhile naval colleagues - had this to say:
"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."
Lord West has also personally overseen the development of a net-firing tangler bazooka for use on any "topless lovelies... having had too much to drink" who might contravene Olympic security. ®
*Lord West's title is "West of Spithead".