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      • Artificial Eyes – the proliferation of Public Safety video Author: Gary Marshall

        Published Dec 09 2016, 8:09 PM by Paul Jeffs

        At the Emergency Services Show

        The UK’s Emergency Services Show is an annual opportunity for the tri-service and associated safety organisations to come together under one roof (and a car park filled with appliances) to discuss and demonstrate the latest thought and innovation in Public Safety. What is especially valuable is the opportunity to hear how technology actually affects officers on the beat, and crews responding to fires and medical emergencies. This year’s event was characterised by two distinct, yet linked technologies – body worn cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). What draws both together is the ability to gather and then present video.

        Body worn video (BWV) drew a lot of attention due to the number of trials taking place at the moment, not just in the UK but throughout the world. As a technology it has equal application for police, fire and ambulance services and presentations drew mixed audiences from all services. London’s Metropolitan Police has recently completed one of the largest urban trials of the technology, placing chest worn cameras on 500 officers and dog handlers in the capital. In the first 12 months BWV has delivered notable successes. Early guilty pleas have risen, as has the provision of what the police deemed to be appropriate custodial sentences, especially in cases of domestic abuse. Stuart Murrell of the Metropolitan Police presented a BWV clip of officer response to a domestic abuse case, which not only demonstrated the excellent care officers gave to the victim, but also graphically illustrated the level of violence inflicted during what was a first offence. This common assault would typically result in the assailant receiving a caution, but the visual nature of the evidence meant officers were able to secure a four month custodial sentence. As a direct result of using BWV in the past year the Metropolitan Police’s ability to secure convictions for domestic assault has risen dramatically. Despite this, Murrell is adamant that the police officer is the better source of evidence, and that the camera can never wholly replace an officer’s statement, and in any case the law precludes the filming of absolutely everything.

        While there have been calls at the highest levels for “recording all contact with the public,” Murrell did comment on how BWV provides officers with an independent witness. This is important for redressing the balance where almost every member of the public potentially carries video capability and can film officers while they work. But, he was also quick to assure that any Police BWV footage which is then not deemed evidence is erased after 30 days of capture.

        Privacy violation was also high on the agenda for Sean White, Assistant Chief of Police, Cleveland, who spoke of the surge in interest from police officers and other Public Safety organisations in the use of UAVs. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) provide an affordable eye in the sky for overt policing with a focus on community protection; and covert policing, which targets drug rings, organised crime and terrorism suspects. Proposing a middle ground of affordable rotary or fixed wing vehicles with advanced camera packages, White foresees UAS ultimately falling under the control of the recently formed National Police Air Service (NPAS). In certain circumstances he saw UAS as a realistic alternative too, or flying in support of, the UK’s fleet of 23 helicopters which costs more than £130 million per year to keep in the air.

        At the Emergency Services Show

        An aerial viewpoint is highly valued, especially in the search for missing persons and in support of major incidents. With accredited, responsible operators in Public Safety who respect community privacy and clearly communicate the purpose of such flights, White proposes a near future where aerial video is both accepted by the public and is sustainable, streaming live feeds and captured images to the officer on the ground. Considering tri-service applications, Murrell presented video as a critical tool for logging major events from first arrival of incident commander, providing transparency of decision making. And, with the application of Bluetooth technology advocated how this could be further enhanced by offering live feeds for remote viewing. Additionally live streamed video is highly useful for fire and ambulance crews, for supplying coroner evidence and especially for providing extra protection in case of assault, astoundingly a threat which affects ambulance crews even more than police officers.

        Clearly, video has an increasingly important role to play in the delivery of Public Safety. Whether sourced from BWV, UAVs, TEDs enhanced appliances, radios or an LTE 4G device, speed of collating and assessing the value of the video and its ability to generate usable intelligence will be critical. This lies at the heart of work Motorola Solutions is now engaged in, connecting users via secure voice and data communications and enabling the delivery of real-time intelligence that enhances the safety of Police, Ambulance and Fire Officers and the members of the communities they serve.

        Gary Marshall is External Communications Manager, UK and Ireland, Motorola Solutions. Gary is on LinkedIn at

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      • Going the extra mile for Public Safety Author: Elvan Lindberg

        Published Dec 09 2016, 8:09 PM by Paul Jeffs

        Delivering a Public Safety communications network produces a very particular set of challenges and there is no leeway for error when lives depend on being able to talk and send data. National communications networks are nothing new, we use them every day with our mobile phones, and despite the best efforts of mobile network operators there are always black spots where you lose signal or find your call dropping. This can be due to congestion on the network and lack of capacity - which is common in large cities - or poor network coverage as you enter into buildings or travel in more rural regions where the network does not reach. With a Public Safety radio network you do not have that luxury. Not only must the network meet user requirements in all areas, but you need to ensure that coverage and capacity is top quality from day one.


        The logistics of installing hardened nationwide mission critical networks can be considerable, and have been illustrated most recently by the work taking place on Norway’s ‘Nødnett’ public safety voice and data communications network. To create a single, reliable, nationwide encrypted TETRA network which provides services from densely populated cities to some of the wildest and remote parts of Europe is incredibly challenging. The core TETRA infrastructure from Motorola Solutions includes a Network Operating Centre (NOC), independent switch sites, more than 330 control rooms and more than 2,100 base stations. To install these base stations within the allocated timeframe, Motorola constructs and tests them in Berlin before shipping the base station, which is preloaded with software, has cabling connected and interfaces already prepared for voice apps and command and control systems. Once in Norway the base stations are transported by truck or airlifted by helicopter to the often remote install sites where they can be connected. This ‘plug and play’ approach enables faster networks roll out and guaranteed quality when turned on for the first time.

        But getting a base station to its location is often just the start of a major undertaking. This month saw the successful installation of Europe’s most northerly base station at the Northcape which extends the ‘Nødnett’ network reach to more than 1,500 kms, up and into the polar region. The location is as spectacular as it is difficult, with steep cliffs surging from the Arctic Ocean. All installation teams have engineers trained and certified for ‘working in heights’ and climbing, which on this occasion was definitely required in order to place the TETRA antennas and radio equipment up a 48 meters tall tower located high on the cliffs.

        At first glance it appears to be an unlikely place to extend a network, not least because for three months of the year the location is plunged into perpetual darkness, sub zero temperatures and deep drifting snow. But the summer months, with 24 hour daylight, transform Northcape into a major tourist destination with a quarter of million visitors making the trip to the far north. The need for police, fire, ambulance, health and rescue organisations to be able to communicate together for daily incident handling and field operations, and have the ability to respond to a major incident is therefore paramount. In Norway, as with any mission critical network, everywhere is important, and that is why we go the extra mile to ensure Public Safety networks have the reach and the quality of service that is second to none.

        You can watch here to learn more about Norway’s nationwide TETRA network and the work being carried out by Motorola Solutions.

        Elvan Lindberg is Head of Communications, Europe and Africa, Motorola Solutions. Elvan is on LinkedIn

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      • Public Safety's Ever Increasing Demand for Data Author: Richard Bennett

        Published Dec 09 2016, 8:09 PM by Paul Jeffs

        Wireless data is exploding around every corner. So what does this mean for public safety agencies? Data is becoming just as critical as voice for doing the job of protecting lives and property.

        In fact, a Motorola survey found that 89 percent of public safety professionals said data is just as important as voice. There is a need for ultra-reliable mobile broadband networks, applications and devices to deliver real-time information to the police officers, firefighter and paramedics acting as our first responders to any critical incident.

        This means they need solutions that are built from the ground up for public safety. They need more than consumer-grade products running consumer-grade applications.

        We know that public safety agencies rely on purpose-built mission critical communication systems and devices that can stand up to the rigors of their work – like a firefighter entering a burning building or a police officer following a suspect down a dark alley.

        As the wireless world moves to mobile broadband technology, we are developing public safety-grade LTE systems and finding ways for them to interoperate and interconnect with our TETRA and P25 mission critical systems to create public safety-grade communications networks. A key part of this is making sure police officers, firefighters and paramedics have access to public safety-grade devices to connect to these networks.

        Before building the next generation LTE mission critical handheld device, the LEX755, we went out and talked to firefighters, paramedics, police officers, detectives and administrators to understand their requirements.

        They told us it needs to support media-intense applications, have a shared view and have the ability to provide up-to-the-minute location information. It needs to help with daily activities like report writing, and it needs to interoperate with P25 or TETRA system. In essence it needs to be a virtual partner for their radio.

        As mobile broadband data becomes a reality for public safety agencies, helping them to do their job better, there needs to be public safety-grade devices such as the LEX 755 to connect first responders, share information and collaborate, and be ready for the street when the unexpected happens.

        To learn more, view the ‘The Art and Science of Mission Critical Design’ video.


        Richard Bennett is Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing EMEA.

        Richard is on LinkedIn at

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