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    • UK Home Office issues new guidance on the use of Bluetooth on Airwave

      Published May 21 2021, 9:25 AM by Matthew Hetherington

      Updated regulations for the use of Bluetooth wireless devices on the Airwave network bring exciting possibilities for blue light users and the wider mission-critical communications community. 

      Short-range wireless connections are part of our daily lives. They link phones, smart speakers, gaming consoles, cameras, computers and dozens more devices.

      Bluetooth® is the world’s most popular standard for cable-free connection between devices over short distances*, and use of the technology is growing rapidly in public safety applications. These range from control room operator headsets and wireless remote speaker microphones to sensors used with Conducted Energy Devices that activate a body worn camera once the CED is drawn from its holster.

      Until recently, however, the UK Home Office has not permitted use of this ubiquitous technology with Airwave TETRA radios. This restriction has been due to concerns about earlier versions of the Bluetooth standard that exposed users of the Airwave service to potential security vulnerabilities.

      This situation has changed with recent iterations of the Bluetooth standard that address security as a foremost concern. Of particular interest from a mission-critical communications perspective, Bluetooth 4.2 and subsequent versions (including Version 5 as supported by the new MXP600 TETRA portable radio) offer major enhancements in encryption and authentication to resist various modes of attack by eavesdroppers. These advances are reflected in updated Home Office guidelines, published in January this year, that now permit the use of Bluetooth 4.2 and above - with Secure Connections Only mode - on the Airwave network in specific use cases, subject to a number of conditions.

      This change in regulation will have a positive impact on blue light users and the wider mission-critical communications community, opening up new possibilities for Airwave – and the forthcoming ESN – to serve the evolving needs of tomorrow’s connected officers. 

      Secure Bluetooth connections can enable remote control and interaction between an officer’s TETRA radio and other devices. At its simplest, this could be a wireless earpiece that allows the police officer to hear colleagues’ voices with greater clarity in the noisy environment of a public event or at the scene of an emergency. The wide range of Bluetooth enabled hearing aids and audio accessories can be particularly beneficial for officers who may have difficulties listening to speech through the radio’s built-in speaker.

      Enabling the use of Bluetooth on Airwave raises possibilities to connect other devices such as body worn cameras and digital notebooks directly to the network. There’s also the novel potential for interacting with the radio via an app on the officer’s Bluetooth-connected smartphone. This enables simplified workflows with mobile applications by reducing the need for frontline workers to keep switching their attention between devices. For example, accessing radio controls in very dark conditions via their connected smartphone screen may be easier and more convenient for an officer working at night.

      As well as improving officers’ situational awareness and task performance, accessing radio functions via a smartphone also supports discreet operations by reducing interest in the activities of a plain-clothed officer by members of the public.

      Light, rugged and easy to use, the MXP600 TETRA portable radio is designed and engineered to meet the mission-critical communication needs of today’s frontline workers. Support for Bluetooth® 5 with Secure Connections mode is complemented by powerful end-to-end encryption to resist interception by eavesdroppers.


      Fergus Mayne

      Country Manager and Head of Sales 

      UK & Ireland

      Motorola Solutions

      Connect with Fergus on LinkedIn

      *Effective operating range between Bluetooth devices is anywhere from over a kilometre to less than a metre.


      Published Nov 16 2020, 12:30 PM by Matthew Hetherington

      A Mission-critical Ecosystem that Promotes Powerful Collaboration for Volatile Situations

      During my interactions with first responders, they have talked about the unpredictable and constantly changing nature of the situations in which they find themselves on a daily basis and how this requires them to adapt quickly and think on their feet.  But, even with all this experience to draw upon, I don’t think anyone was fully prepared for a pandemic such as the one we are currently experiencing.

      It seems that Covid-19 has brought a unique set of public safety challenges, which has been compounded by fewer resources, new policies to enforce and additional time needed to deal with incidents.

      As many of us have been forced to work, study and socialise on-line, cybercriminals have seized the opportunity, while extremists and terrorists are seeking ways to exploit the pandemic.  Restrictions on individual freedoms have also heightened tensions between civilians and police officers, all of which has increased the threat to the safety of your personnel.

      Dealing with such daily complexities has created a more pressing demand for rapid, reliable communication to ensure that we are all better prepared and that the communities we serve can be better protected.

      An Interconnected, Unified Platform to Underpin Tactical Decision-making and Faster Threat Assessments

      Our eco-system of mission-critical voice, video and analytics is designed to optimise situational awareness and real-time intelligence, so that the most important information can flow seamlessly throughout your operation.

      It has a modular design which offers the flexibility to choose the solutions best suited to your operations, so that you can be more prepared as situations become less predictable.

      • Body-worn cameras improve safety and accountability, helping you to capture vital evidence and record responses as situations evolve.
      • Advanced video technology keeps everyone connected and in the full picture, with facial and number plate recognition.
      • Command Centre Software simplifies the management of multiple data sources, so it is easier to connect and share information from different devices. It provides you with a single operational viewpoint from the moment an incident is detected all the way through to resolution and post-incident analysis.
      • Managed and Support Services ensure that your network and devices won’t let you down, with ongoing maintenance, help desk and cyber security services.

      Respond Effectively in the Heat of the Moment with the new MXP600 TETRA Radio

      At Motorola Solutions, we’re always thinking ahead to find ways to offer first responders greater versatility and to develop technologies that integrate intuitively and seamlessly with your daily operations. Our new MXP600 TETRA radio reinforces your communication lifeline, through its ability to interoperate with the technologies that people in the front line rely on. Designed to promote productivity and keep first responders in the field, the MXP600 is future-proofed to collaborate with other devices such as smartphones and body-worn cameras. So that you have the back-up you need to respond effectively in the heat of the moment.

      If you’d like to find out more about how your mission-critical operations can evolve to keep communities and personnel safe, join me at Motorola Solutions’ virtual stand at the digitalPMR Expo from 24-26 November. 

      You can also contact me at Events@motorolasolutions.com

      Keep connected and stay safe.



      Axel Kukuk
      Country Manager and Head of Sales Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg

      Connect With Axel on LinkedIn


      Published Nov 02 2020, 9:00 AM by Matthew Hetherington

      Whether you’re policing a local derby in a football stadium and someone’s just scored a 93rd minute winner, or you’re arriving on the scene of a major incident surrounded by wailing sirens, or the wind is howling and the rain is trickling down the back of your neck - you should be able to hear and be heard - communications should not be compromised.

      When you’re chasing a suspect through a building or across open countryside where there’s usually border line coverage, you need to know that your vital messages will get through to keep you and your colleagues safe.

      We’ve all been there, approaching the end of the shift and you’ve had to remain at a scene. As well as fighting the ground you’re faced with and the unpredictable weather conditions, is your radio tough enough and will your battery make it to the end of the shift?

      Then there’s those shifts where you get back to the station and your boss reminds you to drop your radio into the radio manager for an update. You’re tired. Hungry. You want to get home. Updating your radio shouldn’t be a chore, time consuming or costly. It should be something that just happens.

      In my 32 years’ policing, a lot has changed, especially as we started to tackle crime in a digital world on top of more traditional crime. It is amazing how fast technology moves and to keep up with the challenges facing policing, your equipment should be fit for the challenge, today and tomorrow.

      Despite these challenges, communications remain key and continue to provide our main lifeline. So whatever the situation, wherever you are, whenever the moment - the right radio, makes all the difference.

      The MXP600 is a new TETRA portable device that is designed for your daily challenges. We’ve taken time to understand what you want, what is important, and what helps you in the moments that matter. This has all been key in developing a radio that offers frontline safety, today and tomorrow.

      So despite the 93rd minute winner, sirens or wind and rain, innovative audio technology means you’ll hear and be heard - it means being able to communicate clearly and keeping you and your colleagues safe.

      Even in marginal coverage areas, you can rely on best-in-class coverage to stay connected with the control room and your colleagues.

      If you’re in muddy fields, scaling a fence or arresting a struggling suspect, the cop-proof design copes with  the physical demands of your role with batteries that outlast even those shifts where there is no end in sight.

      At the end of the shift, you can focus on getting back to whatever means the most to you outside of work. Updating your radio doesn't need to be a chore because of secure, more time efficient and cost effective ways to update your radio securely over Wi-Fi.

      With the ever changing scope of policing, you can pair your radio securely with a smartphone today for deeper interaction such as searching for talkgroups or sending status or Short Data (SDS) messages - but also prepare you for the challenges of tomorrow.

      The MXP600 gives you the confidence and ability to focus on supporting the community, efficiently and effectively, getting the job done safely.

      Want to know more?

      Register now for your place at the MXP600 Launch Webinar, at 10:00AM (GMT) on Tuesday 10 November 2020.

      Learn more about the all-new TETRA portable radio at the MXP600 Showcase

      Ian Williams

      Software Consultant

      Following over 30 years as a UK police officer in three different forces, Ian’s final role within policing was as the digital operational lead at West Yorkshire Police. During his extensive career, he specialised in public order and firearms command, demonstrating a strong and distinguished pedigree in community policing and partnerships.

      Ian is now a specialist software consultant for Europe at Motorola Solutions, working closely with customers to understand their requirements and helping the business deliver the capabilities and outcomes they’re seeking to achieve.


      Published Sep 22 2020, 9:41 AM by Matthew Hetherington

      The police service today faces unprecedented challenges; Increasing violent crime, both within society and against Police Officers, a rise in crimes such as fraud and cyber-crime and social/political unrest as a result of the Black Lives Matter protests, all in the setting of the Covid-19 pandemic.

      Meanwhile, the costs of crime prevention and investigation have increased against a backdrop of budget constraints which has cut the number of frontline officers and support services. For some Police Forces around the world this has driven a more strategic approach to technology acquisition and deployment, and as a result, these organisations are starting to deliver significant operational benefits through more effective policing and criminal justice services.

      In such a rapidly changing environment, existing practices and workflows that rely heavily on manual processes and disparate IT systems simply can’t cope. With data such as crime scene photography, Body Worn Video and CCTV footage stored on different systems, not to mention case files being held on paper, officers spend too much time chasing down information and updating multiple systems and too little time on the frontline. Likewise, control room operators often have to ‘swivel-chair’ manage, moving between information sources and interpreting each in turn. This causes delays in critical decision-making that can seriously compromise a response.
      The key is to harness new technology to ensure processes and systems work efficiently. That’s where our ecosystem comes in, the first and only mission-critical ecosystem built specifically for policing. It unifies information onto a single platform so teams get the information they need, when they need it. Imagine how much time an officer would save having to update just one single system instead of a dozen for a single incident. Or how quickly a control room operator could detect an incident and activate a response if all the information was right there in one single pane of glass.
      The new policing technology ecosystem must bring together control room software applications, digital evidence, video security and analytics and service-critical two-way radio communications into one seamless solution. With these elements working together, police forces can receive real-time data and video information from across the public safety landscape to support each stage of an incident lifecycle. Every police officer and dispatcher is connected and can see the full picture to effectively bring about a successful outcome
      It’s not all about the solution though. How you deploy and manage that solution is just as important. Today’s ICT projects are increasingly complicated, creating advanced environments that are capable of evolving to support a plethora of new devices, technologies and systems. Often the development of these ICT projects are hampered by having to manage multiple suppliers, each of which may cause additional complications. Utilising a single supplier can result in a lower risk project with improved outcomes for the customer, as well as simplified ongoing maintenance and development. 

      Navigating through these challenges requires technological expertise and, in the case of police forces, an understanding of how ecosystems work in a public safety environment. With over 90 years of service-critical experience in public safety, supporting over 100,000 emergency services, national security and enterprise customers around the world Motorola Solutions is an ideal partner to choose. We have Public Safety and Security running through our DNA, it’s our only market focus, and all our investments are concentrated on building our end-to-end policing technology ecosystem. 
      Having the right technology platform and partner on board enables you to address the issues you face now and helps prevent issues occurring in the future. It allows you to plan long term and continuously innovate with confidence so you can drive operational efficiency while optimising cost.
      For more about our mission-critical ecosystem and how it works, click here.





      David Shorland
      Sales Director at Motorola Solutions

      Connect with David on LinkedIn

    • One in ten university students is a victim of crime but new technology will make students safer.

      Published May 21 2020, 1:14 PM by Matthew Hetherington

      University is often the first time that many young adults spend prolonged periods away from home. This newfound freedom is an exciting time, as they learn new skills, develop new social circles and continue their educational journey. 

      However, there are risks to students and university staff as often campuses do not have walls and a true cross-section of the public have access, not all of whom have good intentions. Unfortunately this means that university can be the first time that young adults come into contact with crime. 

      The complete University Guide compiled reported crime statistics and created a league table for universities looking at reported crime in areas where students live.* The data they provide shows three core crime statistics including robbery, burglary and violent or sexual offences and gives values of victims per 1000 people.

      The headline figures for universities in England and Wales in 2019 are as follows.

      On average (acknowledging the data set is not perfect) there is approximately a 5% chance of being a victim of crime whilst on or near a university campus in term time while the worst-case scenario is as high as nearly 10%.

      How can Police forces, institutions and university security help protect staff and students from such criminality and provide a safer public space?  

      By working together, Police, Public Safety and university security organisations can establish a system of security with layers of redundancy. Creating a database of safe-designated and threat-designated individuals and vehicles allows the Police,  University or Campus location oversight teams to develop watchlists of sex offenders, known criminals, disgruntled former employees, barred community members such as gang members and drug dealers, non-custodial parents or estranged partners and ensure they cannot gain access to the most vulnerable campus areas. 

      The best approach is a multilayered system of passive and active checks that protect against unauthorised access and provide multiple intervention opportunities. 

      Protection starts off-site and extends right up to your building entrances 

      Outer perimeter

      All roads approaching and surrounding your university campus or target areas act as an outer perimeter. By placing fixed ANPR cameras in this outer perimeter you can catch a potential threat before it enters the campus proper or simply look for trends of unauthorised vehicles.

      Middle perimeter

      The middle perimeter consists of roadways and parking areas that have been identified as high risk or prone to crime. Place additional fixed ANPR cameras in the middle perimeter to let you know when an unauthorised vehicle is on location or take your protection one step further with CCTV security cameras to allow oversight of on-site activities. 

      Inner perimeter

      Entrances to buildings and sensitive locations are the last line of defence against a potential threat. By utilising an inner perimeter facial recognition system that connects to existing IP CCTV you can identify problematic individuals before they have the chance to act.

      By enacting a layered approach and integrating it with an active watchlist, police and on-site security can better monitor ongoing activities while protecting those most vulnerable to crime. To learn more about physical security solutions for universities and educational institutions, visit Vigilant CampusWatch





      Chris Harrison

      Strategic Alliance Manager, Video Security & Analytics at Motorola Solutions

      Connect with Chris on LinkedIn



      *Official data for crime specifically against students at university is not available.

    • How a streamlined workflow can maximise the value of digital evidence and asset management solutions

      Published Feb 27 2020, 8:51 AM by Matthew Hetherington

      The availability of digital assets in UK policing is on an exponential rise. Members of the public expect to see digital solutions in place by their local police force for supporting crime prevention and community engagement. With the common use of smartphones, body-worn video and CCTV, the physical drain on the police service to gather, manage and disclose digital assets has never been higher.

      When a digital asset has been created and identified as a potential piece of evidence to be included in an investigation, that asset along with its original meta-data is now part of an important story. The asset will travel through a sequence of important events; a police investigation, become referenced and linked to a case file and eventually be disclosed as evidence in a criminal trial. 

      Today, we have the ability to technically support every step of that journey by streamlining workflows between platforms based on business rules, provide a secure audited chain of custody, and enable the public, police forces and judicial partners to work seamlessly to gain successful outcomes and prosecutions. 

      Streamlining workflows within digital evidence and asset management solutions needs to carry four immediate business benefits for the police in the UK today: 

      1. Give the general public access to a secure and controlled portal with the ability to submit an asset which is auto-tagged to an incident.
      2. Automate the ingest of multiple sources of digital assets with auto-tagging such as body-worn video
      3. Provide secure storage of the asset alongside a data pool of other potentially related assets, where investigation tools can be used to open new lines of enquiry
      4. Provide either a self serve access for Judicial partners or a fully integrated sharing platform (as in the case of the Scottish Government) to allow original evidence to be presented in court along with case file and audit report to validate the integrity of the evidence. 

      In December 2018, the UK Crown Prosecution Service updated several official guidelines due to a significant number of criminal trials collapsing due to the lack of disclosure of digital evidence. Evidence integrity was key to this, with a call to support search strategies, analytics and the ability to isolate certain elements of key evidence that may have specific privileges but still be disclosed as used or unused evidence material. 

      CommandCentral has been designed to support the Policing Vision 2025 in England and Wales and the Digital Strategy for Justice in Scotland along with national standards due to be published by the Digital Policing Portfolio (DPP) including the following national programmes: Digital Intelligence and Investigation (DII, Digital First (DF) and Single Online Home (SOLH). CommandCentral has also been designed to specifically meet the secure authenticated access and sharing requirements of the CPS, particularly defence practitioners and legal barristers. 

      Kelly Harrison. 

      Solution Manager, CommandCentral Suite 


      Kelly is presently responsible for managing the end to end portfolio of CommandCentral Suite at Motorola Solutions. An innovative software specialist with 10 years experience in Public Safety solutions including Command and Control, Communications, Mobility, Evidence and Records Management Solutions. Kelly prides herself on driving operational outcomes, in particular in overcoming complex requirements for customers with multiple ICT challenges.

      Kelly is on LinkedIn

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