Emergency services radio system '£3.1bn over budget'

10th May 2019

Friday, 10 May 2019

The Home Office has already delayed switching off the existing system by three years to 2022. But the National Audit Office (NAO) has raised doubts about whether the project will be ready by then.

Ministers say the new service would result in faster response times and better treatment.

The Emergency Services Network (ESN) would replace Airwave, a digital radio network introduced in 2000 and used by all 107 police, fire and ambulance services in England, Scotland and Wales.

Airwave links control rooms to response teams, as well as to 363 other bodies such as local authorities and train companies.

The Home Office says ESN will transform what is currently available.

Officials believe it would allow users access to high-speed mobile data and save money by sharing an existing commercial 4G network.

But the scathing NAO report suggests the Home Office has "failed" and that management of the programme has led to delays, increased costs and poor value for taxpayers.

Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the report concludes that key technology is yet to be properly tested, with work not started on upgrading control rooms or providing coverage for police helicopters and air ambulances.

Read the full article HERE.

BBC News


< Back to News