Upgraded police radio working across Tube

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The Independent Online

The police digital radio system is now operational in all London's underground railway stations, it was announced today.

Poor communication underground was identified by a London Assembly report as a factor which hampered the emergency response to the 2005 Tube bombings, and the July 7 outrages sparked a drive to ensure that stations were brought within the range of the Airwave radio system.

However, a senior officer with responsibility for improving police capabilities today acknowledged that further upgrading will be needed to cope with the additional demand expected during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

A recent report by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee voiced concern over whether all the elements for security at the Games were in place.

Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, the chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It would be a miracle if it were all in place, given that it is 2012 we are talking about. We are working with the Olympic organisation scoping precisely what the requirements are going to be.

"The resilience of the system has been well-tested over the last few months, particularly over New Year's Eve, when it really stood up well, and we continue to learn.

"The most important thing we are going to have to do is to put some additional equipment in and that is what we are talking to the Olympic organisation about at the moment."

Mr Neyroud said that having Airwave available underground will be of great benefit to police.

The system has been introduced across forces in England, Wales and Scotland since 2000 and is in the process of being adopted by the fire and ambulance services.

He said: "The big advantage is you can police as you police above ground below ground. Officers, for example, can do checks on the police national computer right in the deepest underground station, so it transforms the way they can do their business underground.

"Fire and ambulance are in the process of adopting Airwave, but we have an interim solution that would allow them to use it today if they needed to."