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ÂŁ5.00 | October 2017 | Vol 23 Issue No 3

British Association Of Public Safety Communications OfďŹ cials


On the ground

The evolution of the Airwave tactical advisor role


One for all

Yorkshire and Humberside forces collaborate on a unique CSI dispatch solution


The unreal world

Leicestershire FRS on its use of virtual reality as a firefighter training tool


After the flood

How cutting-edge digital comms can help mitigate the effects of extreme weather

Standing shoulder to shoulder: ESMCP discusses plans for increased user engagement

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Please come and see us at the forthcoming British APCO Autumn conference on the 8th & 9th November 2017 at St. James Park, Newcastle.

MOTOROLA, MOTO, MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS and the Stylized M Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Motorola Trademark Holdings, LLC and are used under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Š2017 Motorola Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved. 01-10-2017


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Sub-editor: Chris Young Production director: Richard Hamshere Publisher: Tom Curtiss Managing director: Jon Benson Chief executive officer: Ben Allen

Cover story 10 4 President’s address John Anthony on a busy summer and autumn 6 News round up and analysis Ambulance Service rolls out UK’s biggest ICCS; Met embarks on drone trial

BAPCO Directors President: John Anthony MBE john.anthony@bapco.org.uk

10 Get with the programme ESMCP transition director Becca Jones discusses Home Office plans to increase user engagement



Coordinated response OCiP’s Lynne McCartney on the crucial role played by Airwave tactical advisors

Vice President: Andy Rooke andy.rooke@bapco.org.uk


CSI for the 21st century Yorkshire and Humberside police forces have developed a shared crime scene investigation control room

Vice President: Chris Lucas chris.lucas@bapco.org.uk


Welcome to the unreal world Leicestershire FRS’s use of VR for training

Chief Executive: Ian Thompson ian.thompson@bapco.org.uk

26 A new era for 999 Emergency services alerting apps are the future. The BAPCO Journal investigates 28

Advancing shared goals Executive committee member CFO Darryl Keen on firefighter comms requirements

Views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent those of the editor or publisher. The publisher can accept no liability for any consequential loss or damage, howsoever caused, arising from any information printed.


30 BAPCO work Introducing the BAPCO Small Business Group and 5G Essence 34 Come hell and high water

The use of cutting-edge comms to help mitigate the effects of extreme weather

36 Autumn Event preview 38 Ongoing changes Ian Thompson gives a BAPCO progress update The BAPCO Journal is published by MA Business Ltd, St. Jude’s Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454 Website: www.bapco.org.uk

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017


©2017 MA Business Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of the BAPCO Journal may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission of the publishing director.

ISSN 1352-2701 Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Blackwood, NP12 2YA



Taking care of business

BAPCO president John Anthony rounds up a busy summer and autumn, including events in both this country and the US

British APCO is where active members of our public safety community exchange and advise on all critical communications subjects. British APCO participates strongly in the global alliance of APCO International. British APCO’s aims include solving real-time critical communications problems, participating in research programmes (eg EU projects), showcasing technologies, and lobbying on issues such as spectrum and harmonisation. British APCO holds an annual exhibition and development event, many regional events as well as training sessions, and is respected as the UK’s (and Europe’s) leading – and only – forum of knowledge exchange and transfer specific to communications in public safety. To find out more details on how to contribute to and draw on this vibrant community by becoming a member, telephone 03303 327173 or email support@bapco.org.uk For more information visit www.bapco.org.uk


t was a busy summer and early autumn for those involved with BAPCO at an organisational level. In July for instance, we held a meeting of the Executive Board at the offices of Capita in Chippenham, during which I had the great pleasure of presenting the organisation with a certificate acknowledging them as our first Platinum Member. In August, meanwhile, BAPCO chief executive Ian Thompson and I attended the annual conference and exhibition of APCO International in Denver. It was quite an event, easily filling one of the US’s largest conference centres. They do have more than 36,000 members, after all. “The introduction While attending the annual global presidents of FirstNet in meeting we engaged with APCO’s presidential team, the United States exchanging ideas and information regarding the progress and direction of our respective organisations. now seems to be The agendas for both them and us are remarkably progressing at a similar, although somewhat different in terms of their quick pace” respective scale. Worthy of note is the introduction of FirstNet in the US, which now seems to be progressing at a quick pace. The announcement that APCO International is working with IBM and its AI platform Watson to evaluate and report on emergency calls is also an exciting move. We hope to bring more information on both of these initiatives to you in future issues of the Journal, and at our events. Keep an eye out on our Twitter feeds for more information. We have recently met with the Royal British Legion and Motorola Solutions regarding the outcome of our partnership at BAPCO 2016 in Telford. I am pleased to say that the grand sum of £4,613 was raised, and I must thank past president Keith Phillips for all his hard work on the arrangements. Your Board and executive team are now working hard to bring together the Autumn Event – as well the main conference which, of course, will be at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry next year on 20-21 March. As ever, please do get in touch if you have any ideas for these events, or if you have a subject area that you would like to present for consideration.

John Anthony, MBE President, BAPCO 4

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017

Delivering Innovation to the Emergency Services Capita’s unique capabilities deliver innovation to help the Emergency Services collaborate, integrate and operate – managing demand for services, promoting operational mobility, securing digital evidence and supporting critical communications.

www.capitacontrolsolutions.co.uk Š Capita plc


Ambulance service to roll out UK’s biggest ICCS The UK Ambulance Trust has awarded the contract to replace its current integrated command and control system (ICCS) ahead of roll-out of the Emergency Services Network. The new technology will be provided by Frequentis in the shape of its 3020 LifeX integration system, which is designed to operate as a ‘multi-media collaboration platform’ working on a cloud-based model. According to the company, the system will allow control room staff to communicate with ambulances using both Airwave and the ESN, once the latter system is up and running. It will be used by every Ambulance Trust control room operator across the country, with the system holding the capacity for up to 700 concurrent users. It will be the largest ICCS in the UK. Speaking of the deployment, Duncan Bray of the Ambulance Radio Programme, said: “We are confident that [this] is the right provider to enable us to deliver a solution that will greatly assist the Ambulance Trusts’ dispatch capabilities. “Realising the benefits of the

Emergency Services Network is vital, and the flexibility inherent with LifeX will [facilitate] transition to ESN while maintaining interoperable communications with other trusts, police and fire.” Robert Nitsch, public safety director at Frequentis, said: “The platform was designed for the approach required by the UK Ambulance Trusts. [It includes] ‘private cloud’ infrastructure, an intuitive web-based front end and the ability to integrate numerous third-party systems.”

He continued: “This new approach to the provision of critical services for an emergency service’s control centre allows for flexibility and innovation to meet any future requirements and the enhancement of operational processes and procedures. “Even though the system is national and can be enhanced on this basis, we understand the need for individual Trusts to operate in their own way and will therefore ensure local requirements are also catered for.”

Met embarks on drone trial The Metropolitan Police has trialled the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in order to help support its operations on the ground. According to the force, the technology has been made available to officers dealing with situations where air support would be of use. These include incidents involving high-risk missing people, road traffic collisions, searches for suspects, weapon sweeps and the identification of cannabis factories. The drone has also been


used to provide live footage of operational deployments to assist ground commanders in decision-making. Speaking of the deployment, Metropolitan commander Simon Bray said: “Unmanned aerial vehicles are already being used by police forces across the United Kingdom. We own one for examining crime scenes. “We are committed to working with technology that can assist our officers with the wide range of often difficult and dangerous incidents which they deal with on a daily basis.”

The drone being used during the trial – an Aeryon Skyranger – was loaned to the Met by Sussex Police. As suggested by Bray, drones are currently being rolled out by police forces across the UK to great effect. One example of this is Lincolnshire Police’s rural crime team, which began its own use of the technology in late spring. This came to fruition recently via the force’s anti-hare coursing initiative Operation Galileo, during which the activity was detected in

numerous locations across the county. According to Lincolnshire, it was the first time its new all-terrain vehicles were deployed with support from UAVs. A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Police said: “Drone operators were able to locate suspected hare coursers, and direct officers with off-road capability to the scene. “As a result of the operation, four men from Darlington were arrested and will face a court appearance for trespassing in pursuit of game.”

October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO


In other news

Past presidents and life members honoured A commemorative luncheon for BAPCO past presidents and life members took place in the House of Lords at the end of July. Attendees were welcomed to the event by former commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Lord Blair of Boughton. Responding to his gracious remarks about the organisation, current BAPCO president John Anthony paid tribute to those in attendance for their hard work and support over the years. Recognising that not all past presidents and life members were able to attend in July, Anthony advocated that the event might become a regular feature in the BAPCO diary. In other BAPCO-related news, following his retirement earlier this year,

Keith Phillips fulfilled a commitment to the executive committee by presenting another former president – Ian Readhead OBE – with a commemorative bench. The garden bench, which was hand-built by BAPCO project officer Paul Hirst, is made from English oak and bog oak, sourced from the Duke of Buccleuch’s Boughton estate in Northamptonshire. The bog oak is carbon-dated to around 5,000 years old, and working it, in the words of Hirst, “is like cutting steel with your teeth”. The bench was presented to Readhead by Phillips and Alan House, who is also former president of the organisation. Readhead is the former DCC of Hampshire Constabulary, and current chief executive of ACRO.

West Mids launches stop and search app West Midlands Police has developed technology allowing officers to record details of street encounters on their smartphones. As well as the recording functionality, the app also uses GPS to automatically register the location of each search as it takes place. According to the force, the application is the first of its kind in British policing, with West Midlands estimating that it will cut demand on contact staff by around 1,000 calls a month. Speaking of the project, temporary inspector Dave Whordley said: “Officers will be able to input details directly via

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017

their phones and instantly receive a unique reference number. This will do away with having to wait on the phone for contact centre staff to record details of the search.” He continued: “The technology has been developed as part of our WMP2020 project which has already seen the roll-out of more than 3,700 handheld devices to frontline officers.” West Mids has one of the highest stop and search recording accuracy rates in the country, with a recent HMIC inspection finding that 93 per cent of all encounters had been noted correctly. 

UK Mountain Rescue chooses radio supplier Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW) has chosen Simoco Wireless Solutions to supply its 48 teams with Digital Mobile Radio Tier II equipment. The DMR systems will consist of more than 1,000 handheld devices, as well as base stations. DMR Tier II is the UK’s agreed standard for land search and rescue communications, existing to ensure interoperability. Speaking of the procurement decision, MREW ICT officer Mark Lewis said: “Our top priority is ensuring interoperability between our existing analogue systems and any new digital equipment. Many incidents also require us to communicate effectively with other emergency services such as the Coastguard, and police helicopters and air ambulances. “We’re a complex organisation, staffed entirely by volunteers, so it would be impossible for us to migrate entirely to digital at the push of a button. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.” Simoco also supplies DMR Tier III equipment to Swaledale, a Yorkshire-based mountain rescue team featured in the previous issue of the BAPCO Journal. Alongside the benefits of DMR Tier II, this has allowed Swaledale to take advantage of non-Airwavebased trunking, making it the first mountain rescue team in the country to do so.



Learning in the Midlands The BAPCO Journal reports from the Emergency Services Show 2017, which took place in September at the NEC in Birmingham


he Emergency Services Show 2017 offered a mixture of several smaller seminar arenas, alongside a range of exhibitors and demonstrations from across the blue-light sector. While comms was not the main focus of the show, there was still some interesting content to be found, primarily in what the organisers called the Innovations Theatre. This included presentations from BAPCO members, as well as comments regarding the Emergency Services Network from the user side. One of the main themes across the two days was set out in the very first presentation, during which Northamptonshire chief fire officer Darren Dovey discussed how the brigade’s new on-site command vehicle has facilitated on-scene multi-agency working in the county. According to him, the vehicle – the satellite capability for which was provided by Excelerate – has enabled direct communication with the incident ground, while also acting as a secure, on-scene ICT hub. One example of this given by Dovey was the unit’s deployment at Silverstone during this year’s British Formula 1 Grand Prix. In his words, it allowed tactical commanders to run the whole event on-scene, which in turn offered reassurance to event organisers. Another compelling

150,000 Capacity of Silverstone racing circuit


presentation, also from day one, was delivered by Dr Jon Carr, business development manager of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). Discussing the potential use of robots in mission-critical public safety situations, he spoke in the first instance about UKAEA’s test facility, known as ‘robotic applications in challenging environments’, or RACE. There is, he believes, increasing opportunity for the use of this technology across sectors, something which is already being borne out by emergency services’ procurement of drones. He illustrated this by mentioning the use of UAVs at the Grenfell Tower fire, as well as by Lincolnshire Police. The event’s Emergency Services Network-related content came from ACFO Ian Taylor, who is the National Fire Chiefs Council business change lead for ESMCP. He explored the potential of the ESN project from the user point of view, focusing in particular on how the use of broadband

data will improve response. In the first part of his presentation, Taylor gave an overview of the project for anyone in the audience not familiar with it. This included expected 4G coverage, as well as how the devices will differ from those used for Airwave. “What we’re imploring people to do,” he said, “is to stop thinking of your handheld device as a terminal. [With ESN] the handset is a hub – a router – with the individual as the access node to the network.” From there he moved on to exploitation of the technology itself, for instance discussing how the ability to send images from the scene will benefit emergency services operatives on the ground. Taylor also mentioned drones in relation to this, postulating the use that might be gained from streaming live aerial footage back to a control room, as well as to every responder at the scene. One particularly fascinating area of the discussion related to the programme’s possible

interest in data-only SIMs to give greater flexibility when it comes to devices. “This is a very different option for us, if we wish to explore it,” he said. “The caveat with that is that the device must have gone through some form of testing, so it’s not just buy one off the shelf and slot it in. It’s going through a very secure system, which will have met the necessary standards of testing.” He finished his presentation by telling the audience: “The challenge for the broader emergency services family is that we need to be better intelligent clients. We need to have a view of what we actually want, and then be able to sit down with the supply sector and say, ‘We’re thinking of this – what are your capabilities in this area?’ “This is more than just a radio replacement process. I want you now, going forward, to think ESN.” 


Core Emergency Services Network contractors

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Get with the programme Speaking ahead of her keynote presentation at the BAPCO Autumn Event, transition director Becca Jones tells John Anthony about the ESMCP's plan to increase its level of engagement and collaboration with users John Anthony: Could you discuss your background prior to coming on board with ESMCP? Becca Jones: I've spent most of my career up until I joined the programme – something like 14 years – in the Forensic Science Service. I'm a biochemist by training, and started out literally sitting at a bench pipetting things. The Service closed in 2010, which meant I had to find something else. I'd already moved from operational to project and programme management, so when the possibility of a job on the programme came along in 2013, it was a perfect fit. I still wanted to work on major projects, and what better place to do that than in government.

How has been your role changed since you arrived on the programme?

It’s changed an awful lot since I arrived – transition director is actually my fourth role. I started out as transition lead, which involved looking at the user landscape and thinking through how we would approach changing from one system to another. One of the first things we did in that area was to put together a transition plan at a very high level, which included figuring out the regional structure. It was essential work, but I have to say, a lot of the assumptions we made during those early times don't really hold up now. After that, I moved across to work directly with Gordon [Shipley] as the programme manager during the main procurement, at the point where we were going to market with lots one to four. I then became the deputy programme director, with responsibility for planning as well as stakeholder engagement and communications.

What does your current role as transition director involve? Why has it been established within the programme?

There are a number of reasons for the new role, the main one being that the programme has realised that we need to put much more effort into user engagement and readiness. I think that's why I got the job – because of my background, and particularly my strengths when it comes to working with people. My focus as transition director is first on user engagement and confidence-building, a big part of which is preparation for trials and

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017



great work going on in this programme. One of the things we'll still be discussing by the time November comes is timescale, which we're in the process of re-planning now. With that in mind, what I don't want to do in Newcastle is come out with another date, and then have it change again at some point. Users need a clear and realistic baseline to plan from, which is something we'll have greater clarity on by the end of the year.

ESMCP transition director Becca Jones

pilots. That will be a key moment, when users will start to see just what this technology is really going to mean for them. The second part of my role is the preparation for transition itself, the enormity of which as a task has only really been apparent as the programme has progressed. The third aspect is about preparing us to manage the service once it goes live, something that will remain the Home Office's responsibility. With the creation of my role, we've effectively split the programme almost into two halves, with Gordon focusing very much on the technical delivery aspects and myself on the user side. His remit is around the management of the contracts we’ve already got in place, and so on.

With that in mind, how hands-on will you be when it comes to contact with the users themselves? I'll be responsible for working with the users, probably much more closely than we have so far. That means I can only be effective if my team and I are getting out and actually meeting people and I’m really looking forward to that. I've got no intention of spending all my time sitting in the Home Office. I was able to properly commit my time to the transition role as of the autumn, and the first thing I asked the business change leads for was some suggestions as to whom they wanted me to meet. I know there are a lot of questions. I’m probably not going to have all the answers at the moment, but I'll provide what I can. We need to make sure that communication and engagement is a two-way street, so I can understand what the concerns of the user community actually are. I can then take that back in the programme, so we can address the issues.

Staying on the subject of user engagement, what's your expectation of the BAPCO Autumn Event in November? Regarding my presentation in particular, I'll be focusing on the progress on the network that has been made so far, as well as the planning processes we’re going through at the moment. Again, it's all about building confidence within the user community, with the presentation hopefully providing a great lead for Gordon at Coventry next March. There's some


Is there still the same level of commitment to ESN and its original requirements on the part of government, given how complicated the programme has become to roll out? Absolutely – the original requirements are inviolate, and so is our commitment to them. The programme can't actually change anything on its own behalf, with any decision at that level having to go through the programme board and therefore the senior user representatives. Four and a half years on from when those requirements were gathered, we've now established what we're calling a 'traceability matrix', which we're ticking requirements off as they're fulfilled. We have a team of people working through exactly how each of these obligations are going to be met.

Keeping on the subject of timescales, can you reassure people that there will be no pressure to switch the network on before users are fully satisfied with it? There will not. That's something I would find personally very difficult.

To what degree will user engagement drive innovation and ESN exploitation? To a huge degree, but again we need to go through the process of building confidence in the network first so agencies can trust it on a dayto-day basis. That's the foundation – reassuring people that it's reliable, secure and resilient. After we've established that, the next part is about looking at what can actually be done with this new technology. It's a platform for change, through which people will have a real opportunity to consider how they deliver their service and do their job. We're currently exploring the possibility of something we're calling incremental delivery, which may potentially be able to offer early access to the data aspects of the network. Having talked to the business change leads, we feel that it could be a real opportunity to build confidence before we ask people to use it in a mission-critical environment. Again, that's something that I’m hoping to talk about in a little bit more detail in November.

October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO


What is the general level of user confidence?

I think it varies depending on factors such as where they are in the UK, what the transition schedule is and so on. There's also different levels of confidence in different aspects of the programme. Coming back to what we were talking about earlier, confidence is clearly also linked to the quality of information that people are receiving from us. There has been times when, to be frank, we've not been able to say very much about what's happening, for instance when we're running procurements. This is also a unique project, so we're not always able to fully articulate exactly what the answer is to certain queries. What we can say now is that we're making really good progress in aspects such as coverage prediction, and we're able to share really good data about that. Of course, these are just predictions, and until people can actually see what's there, there will always be a healthy level of scepticism. We're coming close to being able to provide some pretty definitive answers, however.

There hasn't been a presentation from KBR during recent conference updates. Is its role still the same?

Yes, from a user-facing perspective, absolutely. They're an integrated part of the programme team itself, which is why they're less visible

"We're exploring something called incremental delivery, which may be able to offer early access to the data aspects of the network"

at things such as conferences than, say, EE or Motorola. The delivery partner is supplementing our team with all sorts of different skillsets – in my area particularly – in the preparation for trials and pilots, and in supporting user transition readiness. They're integral to the programme.

Finally, what's the most exciting aspect of your role - and ESN as a whole -, from your point of view?

On a personal level, it allows me to work with the emergency services, which is something I've always wanted to do. I really enjoy the stakeholder engagement and communications piece, so this role is ideal for me. Regarding the roll-out itself, the most exciting aspect is that we’re delivering something that will potentially make a fundamental difference to everyone in this country, particularly frontline emergency services users. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. There's an enormous amount of interest in what we're doing, and we talk to numerous different programmes around the world, including the FirstNet people. We learn lessons from them, and they learn lessons from us.  Becca Jones and John Anthony were talking to Philip Mason

Adobe stock: corepics

The Emergency Services Network has the potential to revolutionise public safety

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017




October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO




October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO


Coordinated response

Following several months blighted by terrorist attacks and mass-casualty incidents, Philip Mason talks to OCiP’s Lynne McCartney about the crucial role played by Airwave tactical advisors in co-ordinating communications between emergency services on-scene


ne of the major concerns on the part of users ahead of the Emergency Services Network is that it may not match the level of service delivered by the incumbent Airwave system. Indeed, one of the key deliverables from the beginning of the project has been that it will, at the very least, mirror the 96 per cent UK coverage currently available using TETRA. As reliable as the Airwave network undoubtedly is, however, availability is by no means a given, with not only coverage and capacity to be considered, but also use-level a factor in who gets to talk and who doesn’t. Or to put it another way, the network has to be closely managed, especially at times of unexpected high demand. (Airwave size and capacity is designed to fit the day-today usage​requirements​​of the network, plus an allowance for additional capacity to meet any unanticipated demand for usage). As might be imagined, this is particularly the case when a high volume of users is clustered together in the same place, for instance during a mass-casualty incident. It is here where operational communications advisors (aka Airwave tactical advisors) come into their own, something which has been apparent several times during a year that has seen multiple terror attacks take place across the UK.

Managing the scene

Superintendent Lynne McCartney is the national Airwave user assurance co-ordinator for police, working as part of the National Police Chiefs Council Operational Communications in Policing group (OCiP). She is also an Airwave tactical advisor, with frontline experience of a variety of critical incidents. Speaking of why the ‘tac ad’ role is so important, she says: “The job essentially involves protecting the Airwave coverage and capacity so it can be used to its best effect in a given location. Ultimately, it’s the same principle as with a mobile phone, just using different technology. The more people there are on the network, the higher the premium when it comes to its availability.” She continues: “Once emergency services have been appointed to an incident, the tac ad begins to take measures to protect the Airwave capacity, making sure that everyone on the ground can still talk to each other despite what could

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017


Adobe Stock/chalabala


Terrorism in 2017

This year has seen several fatal UK terror attacks. They began in March, with an incident near Parliament in which five people, including PC Keith Palmer, were killed. This was followed in May with an atrocity at the Manchester Arena, when 22 people were killed by an improvised explosive device at an Ariana Grande concert. The third such incident occured in June, when eight people died during an attack on Borough market. Also that month, a man was charged with a terrorism offence after a fatal attack on pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque. In September an explosion on a London Underground train in Parsons Green, in which no lives were lost, was also investigated as terrorism.

be a flood of people making use of the network. “That could include influencing user behaviour – for instance, telling them when and when not to speak – managing talk groups, limiting point-to-point, and so on. They can also ask Airwave to deploy technical solutions where appropriate, to add capacity if necessary. In addition, if forces have purchased the Airwave Insite product, the tac ad can also monitor the network activity in realtime, which has proven to be invaluable in operational situations.” As McCartney tells it, the role of the Airwave tactical advisor was established following gunman Raoul Moat’s rampage across Tyne and Wear in 2010, during which he shot four people, including his ex-girlfriend and her new partner. The subsequent police operation, while ultimately successful, consisted of limited management of comms at the scene, as well as little co-ordination with the other emergency services. A lot has been learned since then. The other major factor, meanwhile, has been the increase in the use of mutual aid between police forces, something which again has necessitated greater understanding between potentially competing Airwave users. This was thrown into sharp relief in 2011 during the rioting that swept the UK that summer.

Manchester terror attack

The establishment of the tactical advisor role was an important moment in the history of UK emergency services, enabling as it did the effective management of Airwave network resources. According to McCartney, however, there were – and to a degree still are – obstacles to overcome, particularly in relation to how first-responders co-ordinate usage between organisations. She says: “When the role was first established, each emergency service would deploy their own tac ad to the scene, often without reference to others who would also be working there. While they weren’t fighting over access to the network, at times of unexpected high demand for capacity there was the possibility that the network could clog up, without users having a clear understanding as to why this was happening. “Since then, JESIP [the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability


Programme] has sponsored the establishment of a tri-service tac ad training course, which has improved the situation considerably. The police tactical advisor will now be much more aware of the impact of the fire and ambulance services on the network than they would have been before, and vice versa.” She continues: “That kind of co-working is especially beneficial, because it allows us to take into account contrasting levels of attendance at a given incident. For instance, at the Ariana Grande terrorist atrocity in Manchester earlier this year, you would have seen far more medics on the scene than police officers. “The important thing in that scenario therefore is to make sure that the medics can speak to each other. If a cop is positioned on the cordon rather than being at the heart of the incident, it’s far less likely that they’re going to need to speak using Airwave. There was an extremely experienced police tac ad deployed during that incident, something which was particularly important because of potentially limited Airwave capacity in that part of the city, as incidents of that scale are not the norm there.” As well as greater co-ordination among blue-light services themselves, Airwave is also contributing to ongoing strategic planning by producing a usage report following any large-scale incident. This allows emergency services to interrogate the data after the fact, better informing them on the management of talk groups and so on. Indeed, multiple talk groups now exist which themselves can be used in what McCartney calls an “interoperable manner”, facilitated on-scene by the presence of a tac ad.

Airwave is still central

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there is currently an undercurrent of concern from UK emergency services that ESN will not be able to deliver push-to-talk with the same reliability as Airwave. This is not stopping them, however – quite rightly – from doing all they can to get ready for the network once it does arrive. While clearly positive, for McCartney this preparation also needs to be offset with the realisation that the current TETRA-based system is still going to be central to frontline operations until at least the end of 2019. In other words, as well as training and deploying tac ads, something which cannot be mandated from the centre, services should also still be investing in Airwave itself.

October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO


“There is a common misconception that because we are putting money into a new network, we don’t need to pay as much attention to the old one,” McCartney says. “I absolutely don’t believe that to be the case. “In the first place, Airwave is still our provider, which means we still pay them a considerable amount of money for the service. We therefore need to get value from that by making sure that we’re using the network to the best effect. “Possibly even more important is that services need to be aware that as the network gets older, we might see problems occurring. Airwave needs to continue to invest in the right amount of engineering people on the ground to keep it operating as it should as we go forward. The Airwave network is very reliable and hardly fails, but if it did, the subsequent operational issues can clearly be immense.” With that in mind, how mindful is OCiP – and indeed the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) itself – of the possibility that current emergency services handsets may also at some point creak into obsolescence? Is there a plan in place if and when that happens? “We’re currently looking at a national strategy,” says McCartney. “Clearly, there are always going to be new handsets available, because TETRA is still viable in many countries across Europe. The problem comes, as we’re very aware, in finding space in the budget to buy them in the first place. “Another issue comes from different emergency services organisations having their own contracts and handset suppliers. Looking at the police in particular, forces own their own devices, which means that some kind of national agreement would probably need to be reached. That would be a challenge in itself. “At the moment, we’re looking at something which would mean we could potentially be more agile around using the assets that

forces have already purchased. That solution doesn’t exist as yet, because no-one’s reached a critical stage.”

Tried-and-tested system

There is little doubt that the Emergency Services Network, once deployed, will represent a oncein-a-generation step-change for UK public safety comms. Prior to the technology being made available, however, organisations will still need to make use of the current Airwave system which, while more limited in terms of broadband functionality, has the benefit of being tried and tested over a period of decades. Speaking of her hopes and expectations for the final swap-over, McCartney says: “If the Emergency Services Network does what it says on the tin, it will be fabulous. But at this moment, police officers don’t necessarily need the all-singing, all-dancing piece of kit because that’s not what we’re used to. They just need to know that the new technology is going to work. “Users often report faults with the Airwave network, but in my experience it’s not always the network that’s the problem so much as the operator themselves. That’s why preparation – be it training, or the deployment of Airwave tactical advisors, continues to be so important.” The BAPCO Autumn Event will include a session on ‘The practical reality of Airwave communications during a major incident,’ presented by police user configuration lead, OCiP, inspector Simon Davies, and Laura Lewis, Airwave tactical advisor, Greater Manchester Police.

Adobe stock/Sandor

Westminster was the site of a major terrorist incident in March

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CSI Yorkshire: dispatch at the cutting edge Yorkshire and Humberside police forces have developed a shared control room, enabling officer mobilisation across the region. John Gilbody, who leads the operation as head of scientific support services, discusses this transformational joint project


ike every UK emergency services organisation operating in the past eight years, Yorkshire and Humberside police forces have undergone a series of substantial cuts to their operational budgets in order to accommodate the government’s ongoing austerity project. As of 2015, my force, West Yorkshire, had seen a real-terms cash reduction of around £117.5m following the previous election. This money has not necessarily been easy to find, but we’ve done our best, initiating an austerity drive post-2010 through which we’ve examined every part of the business. This included looking at areas where we could potentially achieve efficiencies via collaboration with other public safety organisations. One of the ways we believed we could save money was by bringing together each force’s scientific support units, a process that we put in train in 2012 by beginning to share back-office functions. These included identification bureaux, forensic submissions, couriers, intelligence, technical CSI, as well as imaging services, all of which were eventually brought to a single location in Wakefield. This was followed by a similar move in relation to crime scene investigators themselves, who were traditionally spread over 12 locations across the region (four in North Yorkshire, three in Humberside, three in West Yorkshire and two in South Yorkshire). As with the scientific units, this has now been consolidated, with 200 or-so CSI operatives capable of being dispatched from a single control room. As might be imagined, this initiative required a certain level of investment, something we were able to secure in part from the Police

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Transformation Fund. This enabled us to take full advantage of our new control room – provided by Sopra Steria in the shape of its STORM system – by adding a digital mobile working/remote transfer aspect to the project.

The road from Hull to Bridlington

While it would be wrong to suggest that the system was not effective prior to what we have now, there were several inefficiencies baked into how we previously did things. The first of these was the, fairly obvious, fact that despite sharing borders across the region, each force was working via discrete, disparate control room technology through which they could only speak to their own people. This ultimately meant that the individual organisations couldn’t take advantage of how close towns often are to each other around the region despite their being in different counties. To illustrate, previously if I wanted to dispatch a CSI to an incident in Bridlington, I’d have needed to do it from Hull, which is an hour away. Now I can call on someone in Scarborough, which despite being in a different county is just ten miles up the coast. The other thing we were unable to do prior to the current system was move people around according to peaks and troughs in demand. Or to put it another way, whereas now I would be able to deploy the aforementioned Scarborough crime scene investigator at a moment’s notice to anywhere in the region, previously she could have been waiting hours for a job while someone else could potentially have been rushed off their feet. When we first started thinking about changing the dispatch system, we hoped that it might be possible to piggy-back one of the command and control solutions already being used in the region, interfacing via some kind of external incident transfer. The problem with that, however, was that each existing control room has been built and configured according to the needs of its respective force, something that was impossible to circumvent. This meant, for instance, that we wouldn’t have been able to grade calls according to when we actually needed to arrive on scene, which could potentially be as soon as within the hour or as late as sometime the next day. It would also have affected local reporting procedures – processed through the command and control system – due to the fact


that CSIs often leave incidents open for days on end rather than shutting them down straight away. Once you got into the detail, it just wouldn’t have worked. With that in mind, our new control room solution, which is the first of its kind for crime scene investigation in the UK, has been built and installed bespoke to our needs. For instance, we’ve created our own incident codes and priorities for the system, as well as being able to individually mark and separately colour-code our own resources. We also have a new mapping facility, which covers the whole region down to street level and is viewable using a video wall. Because our deployments generally take place over a number of days and are very specialised, we have to be able to see a much different, much bigger picture to appropriately manage incidents. That is particularly the case when working across borders.

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Hair, bloodstains and fingerprints

Having brought together our respective scientific services while also simultaneously consolidating CSI dispatch, we are now able to be much more efficient and effective as a department. There is a third element in the project, however – equipping crime scene investigators themselves to do the job. For those who aren’t aware, this kind of scientific investigation is a multi-stage process consisting in the first instance of on-scene examination carried out by specialist officers. Potential items of interest could include, but are by no means limited to, ‘biological’ evidence such as hair and blood stains, latent fingerprints, firearms and so on.

Once potential evidence has been identified, CSIs will then put in a request to forensic support asking for consideration to be given to sending them off for examination in the lab. These requests are processed in the first instance by our casework assessment team, who subsequently advise the officers on the best way to proceed, depending on how the evidence correlates with accounts that have already been given. Once authorisation has been obtained to collect the evidence, it will then be moved to the police stores, before subsequently being brought back by courier to the exhibit-handling team in Calder Park. The final part of the process is the verification by the intelligence team, after which officers will go and make an arrest. Inextricably linked to all this is our digital mobile policing project, through which data can now be communicated remotely via (Samsung Galaxy Active) tablets, directly to and from the scene. A major benefit of this roll-out is that we now have the ability to silent-task, something that in turn has reduced the amount of Airwave traffic generated from our side by around 33 per cent. It has provided other efficiencies as well, in that we’ve been able to massively cut down on the amount of paper we use, as well as on the time it takes an officer to fill out a report and return it in the first place. We’ve also been able to eliminate any

Adobe Stock/Peter Kim

The main driver for choosing STORM was that we needed something which would be able to talk to other police forces, as well as allowing those forces to transfer information across to us. A further contributing factor was that the system was already being used by the National Police Air Service, which meant we’ve been able to model our new control room on theirs. (They’re also being led as an organisation by West Yorkshire Police, which places them about ten minutes up the road from us). As well as the work that has gone into the command and control system itself, we have also reprogrammed all of the Airwave terminals for the Yorkshire and Humberside forces, so they’re able to talk to us as well as the non-CSI control rooms. At this point, I see us as the equivalent of a fifth police force in the region, covering all four areas.

Crime scene investigation involves the examination of many different kinds of evidence

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duplication, for instance around the use of address information on evidence bags. We now only need to write something once. Again, this has involved a considerable amount of co-ordination with the four local forces, for instance through the development of digital question sets for anyone requesting a CSI, something which in turn improves the quality of information that officers are getting upfront at the scene. This whole piece coincides with the efforts already being made by the individual forces to roll out digital mobile working equipment to officers across the board. For instance, West Yorkshire has invested around £5m in this area, issuing Galaxy Note 3 devices to 4,000 police officers. They are also using Pronto, which integrates with both their own command and control system, as well as the Police National Computer, Niche, and so on.

Evidence at the touch of a button

As well as being able to write and log reports far more easily, the new technology also gives the opportunity to incorporate the use of data into our CSI operations. This is something we always had in mind from the beginning of the project, and which we took forward in earnest over the past year through the development of an app that has now been rolled out across the region. Taking advantage of this functionality, officers can now upload fingerprints, footwear marks and photographs, transferring the images at the click of a button via 4G to the identification bureau system. This has meant that we can now obtain fingerprint identifications within


hours, and there have been occasions when we have identified a suspect before the investigator has even got back to base. Conversely, we can also transfer images from the CSI office without having to burn them onto a CD, which again was something that previously put a substantial drain on resources. What we ultimately have in mind, however, is moving from remote transmission at the office to remote transmission at the scene. That would be another major development in the life of this project. We put together the business case for a central tasking unit just over two years ago, and in that time it has proved itself to be one of the most effective pieces of strategic planning that has ever been carried out in the region. In the first instance, as discussed, it has not only provided a range of efficiencies but also improved our working practices overall. We’ve also been able to take advantage of economies of scale (as well as financial support from the upper echelons of the organisation). We’ve re-shaped the business, meaning that the unit has been cost-neutral to set up. At the same time, meanwhile, it has also prepared the way for us to collaborate more effectively locally, regionally and ultimately nationally, as per the Strategic Policing Requirement. Following the success of the project, this is something which is currently being explored across the whole of the UK as part of the NPCC’s Transforming Forensics Programme. For any other force or region thinking of instigating greater collaborative cross-border working, if done intelligently, the rewards are great. Looking at Yorkshire CSI, I’d say that we’ve moved into the 21st century.

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Welcome to the unreal world The BAPCO Journal talks to Leicestershire Fire and Rescue’s Paul Speight about the brigade’s use of virtual reality as a firefighter training tool


ne of the primary methods used by the Fire and Rescue Service to prepare its people for the front line is simulation. This could mean either the literal creation of an ‘incident’ for firefighters to deal with in a controlled training environment, or via the use of computer technology to test situational awareness. Recently, however, another solution has been added to the toolkit in the shape of first-person perspective virtual reality. While perhaps not quite as immersive as actually being involved on the fireground, this burgeoning technology has the advantage of allowing firefighters to experience potentially massively intense life-critical situations in complete safety. It also has the benefit of being both ‘re-playable’, as well as genuinely interactive. As an application, therefore, VR has the potential to revolutionise training in a variety of disciplines, from fire safety to tactical decision-making.

Feel the burn

One of the first UK fire and rescue services to explore the potential of the technology is Leicestershire, which recently created a ground-breaking ‘360-degree’ public safety film (VF4360) simulating a fatal road traffic collision. The brigade subsequently built on this by developing a solution for deployment to firefighters themselves – specifically, at least in the first instance, fire investigators in training. Paul Speight is the Leicestershire FRS watch manager in charge of the organisation’s virtual reality effort. Speaking of the origins of the project, he says: “We’ve been working with a company called RiVR (Reality in Virtual Reality), who have developed a method of using laser scanning and specialised photography to recreate photo-realistic, true first-person situations. As soon as they showed me the technology, I said I know what I want to do with this.” He continues: “It’s the perfect training tool for fire investigation because it’s so immersive and interactive. Every time we had a fire, I’d ring them and they’d come down and film it with a 360-degree camera, as well as photographing each item after the blaze was finished. They’d then process the images to ultimately create a virtual reality room-scale environment. “Once the firefighter puts on the headset – at the moment


we’re using the HTC VIVE – they can manipulate and examine individual objects within the virtual world. In arson investigation, we’re looking for smoke patterns and burn areas, to discover how and where the fire started. With RiVR we can allow firefighters to ‘enter’ the environment, and sift through the debris to look for evidence and clues as to how the incident happened.” As mentioned, the process of creating this virtual training environment begins with the capture of the images themselves, which takes place at the scene. These are then processed using photogrammetry software, mapped out and the geometry of the space established. The simulations are played via a high-end gaming PC, which users have on their back, as it is very lightweight. “We’re essentially creating a gaming environment,” says RiVR creative director Alex Harvey. “We currently use the Unity engine, but we’re now looking at Unreal as well. That’s the platform which was used to create games such as Gears of War 4 and BioShock. We also give the ability for a second screen trainer to watch remotely or in the same room on an iPad, and call out things in the scene. “The idea is to make the experience as exhilarating and truly ‘real’ as possible, for instance so you get the same fear as you would if you looked down from a great height. I believe this technology could fundamentally accelerate learning in humans.”

Gathering evidence

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s VR training project has already received approval from the brigade’s own senior managers, after which it was presented to NFCC director for people and organisational development Ann Millington. Leicestershire has since been named the national lead for fire service virtual reality. Regarding the use of the technology going forward, Speight foresees numerous possibilities. “Potentially any form of training we do as a fire service could take place in the virtual world, as long as we can make it as realistic as possible. For instance, we’re considering how to add a virtual reality screen to a BA headset.” Firefighters operate in hugely challenging environments. If technology such as VR can give them an edge when it comes to preparation, then that can only be a good thing.

October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO






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A new era for 999

Philip Mason explores the ongoing development of current emergency services alerting apps, as well as the integral role played by the BAPCO accreditation scheme


any UK emergency services are currently rolling out smart devices to the front line, something which has prompted much discussion – not least in the BAPCO Journal – about how to get the best use from 4G-enabled apps. Just as pertinent, however, are the opportunities afforded by LTE technology to help people get in contact with safetycritical agencies in the first place. This too is an area where organisations are just starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible, and where demand is only likely to increase as evermore sophisticated devices become available to the public. Integral to the hoped-for proliferation of innovative new ways to contact the emergency services is the BAPCO app accreditation scheme. Steered by the organisation’s vice president Andy Rooke, it has developed a series of protocols relating to so-called ‘alerting’ apps existing in the 999/112 space. Rooke gives an overview of the current landscape, as well as the work being carried out by the group. “We’re essentially the gatekeeper for the UK when it comes to the evolution of this area of public safety technology,” he says. “There are plenty of experts in the field who are fantastic sources of information – the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), for example – but no-one else in Europe is able to become involved in the process of development and then the accreditation of the app. “Our criteria are very simple – is this idea going to save lives, and is it going to work? We come to understand this first of all through an elevator pitch from the developer, after which there will be a more detailed presentation to the committee.” Once the committee has given the green light to the project, they then pair the developer up with a public safety partner agency, which will guide it towards full deployment. This is necessary according to Rooke because “nine times out of ten, no matter how good the idea is, the developer won’t have a clue [about] what the business of the emergency services entails, or what information will benefit response”. The final stages begin with a report from BT followed by more testing, making sure alerts and data are reaching the company’s telematics position as they should. The process ends with formal sign-off by the scheme.

Stay silent, stay safe

The app accreditation process has already been central in


“With flames spreading quickly, Becca’s friend was only able to contact the FRS via a non hearingimpaired neighbour”

helping to bring through a variety of innovative solutions, including the likes of RealRider, which automatically sends out the location of potentially injured motorcyclists in the event of a crash. The committee is currently involved in another hugely interesting concept, meanwhile, in the form of TapSOS, which enables vulnerable people to contact the emergency services without having to speak on the phone. Discussing the rationale behind the app, TapSOS founder and CEO Becca Hume says: “The solution is basically intended for use by anyone who isn’t able to ring the emergency services. “That could be because of a physical issue such as being deaf or hard of hearing, or because the person is in a difficult situation where they don’t feel that it’s safe to speak. For instance, it’s becoming increasingly the case during terror attacks – such as the recent one on Borough Market – that those involved need to hide and remain silent.” She continues: “In terms of using the app, the first stage is to create a profile, which stores the user’s name, address, medical history and so on – information that can then only be accessed in an emergency. We want the first-responder to have as much detail as possible before they arrive on the scene, so they can tailor their response accordingly. “In the event of an incident, the interface will ask which service the user requires in

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perspective to make sure we knew what would be useful to them, and also that it would fit with their back-end systems, protocols and so on. “We’re currently channelling TapSOS through EISEC (Enhanced Information Service for Emergency Calls), which is BT’s data exchange system allowing the call-handler to retrieve information automatically. That will allow it to work across the UK.”

Only the beginning

exactly the same way as if they were ringing 999, and then take them through a series of questions. From start to finish, they are able to provide call handlers with much more information than they’d be able to under normal circumstances. The GPS function will automatically be able to identify where they are.” According to Hume, the idea for TapSOS arose after working with a deaf colleague during one of her first jobs at Marks & Spencer, something which lead her to study sign language. The emergency services were subsequently brought into her thinking following the experience of a deaf friend of hers who became aware that a car had been set alight outside her house in the middle of the night. With the flames quickly spreading to her garden fence, the friend was only able to contact the Fire and Rescue Service via a non-hearing-impaired neighbour, who spoke on the phone on her behalf The app came to the attention of BAPCO at the 2015 Autumn Event in Newcastle, which Hume had attended on the advice of the CTO of the aforementioned RealRider, Dave Sharp. Having been accepted onto the scheme, it is currently sitting with its host agency Devon and Cornwall Police. Speaking of the benefits of involving the force in the developmental process, Hume says: “We needed an emergency services

It’s clear that profound change is taking place in the sphere of initial public contact with the emergency services. According to Rooke, however, the increase in primarily text-based alerting apps is only the beginning, with BT itself currently undergoing a shift in how it handles 999 calls. “There’s already a change in procedure in the works because of eCall, which will fundamentally mean an increase in telematics call-handlers,” he says. “The big change, however, will come in or around 2021 with the projected move to Next Generation 999, which will conceivably involve the use of things like video to contact control rooms.” He continues: “The key area for BAPCO with regard to this is that the 999 system has to be able to deal with every piece of, often very rich, data in a seamless manner. That means validating and decoding it the moment it arrives, prior to it being routed to the appropriate emergency services. “The ability to share information between agencies is also a priority, something which isn’t possible at the moment because they all have different systems. Our current mostly server-based infrastructure is insufficient in my view, and we should consider moving to the cloud across the board.” It is vital that the emergency services have access to as much useful information on the front line as possible. Integral to this will be widespread availability of alerting apps which, if developed and managed intelligently, have the potential to contribute to a hitherto undreamed-of level of situational awareness to those working on the ground.

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017



Advancing our shared goals Hertfordshire chief fire officer – and BAPCO Executive Committee member – Darryl Keen discusses firefighter requirements when it comes to comms


How did you first become involved in the digital communications sector? What’s your current involvement? I have been an operational firefighter for 26 years – with Royal Berkshire FRS, Buckinghamshire and now Hertfordshire County Council as director of community protection and chief fire officer. I first got involved in comms via the control room around 2005/6 when I was asked to implement the Fire Service Emergency Cover (FSEC) toolkit for Bucks. That opened my eyes to risk management and some of the aspects which control rooms face in the live management of fire cover. Following that, I took on a lead role in my home service for the ill-fated FiReControl project, while and at the same time leading an initiative to upgrade our mobilising system. I’m currently the Fire and Rescue Service business change lead for ESMCP, as well as the FRS senior user for Airwave. I also play a leading role in the 999/112 infrastructure replacement project.



What’s been the level of your involvement with BAPCO up until now. What work do you do currently? I’ve attended a number of BAPCO events but until recently haven’t taken an active role in the association. However, with my current National Fire Chiefs Council responsibilities I now feel that it is essential to become more involved. There are a number of aspects on which the NFFC and BAPCO have a shared agenda. I want to use my position to advance our shared goals.



What benefits does BAPCO offer?

I believe that there is very small pool of people who genuinely understand the full ‘lifecycle’ of an emergency call.


With that in mind, BAPCO provides a superb opportunity for those like-minded individuals to share knowledge, discuss and lobby on key elements. Communications is a central aspect of emergency services response.


What are the unique challenges in terms of comms faced by firefighters? There is a great deal of consistency regarding communications needs across the emergency services – and with industry, for that matter. We all need them to be resilient and reliable. Challenges which are specific to firefighters relate, in my opinion, to the more niche aspects of the role. For example, the effectiveness of comms when using breathing apparatus, or the ability to track the location of firefighters with pinpoint accuracy. There are also major communications difficulties within environments which have been disrupted, such as collapsed buildings. Industry has done much to support firefighters in these situations. However, we have to be realistic and balance what we could potentially do with what we can afford.



What are your hopes for the future, and for the Emergency Services Network? I’ve been involved in the Emergency Services Network for over six years, so I may be accused of being an evangelist. However, I am convinced that the new system will provide what emergency responders need. At the same time, I also regularly find myself rising to the defence of Airwave when colleagues cite its cost. A private network was part of the agreed specification, and that was never going to be cheap. It is interesting, however, that now ESN is on the horizon, the regularly heard challenge is ‘it needs to be as good as Airwave’. I think that ESN will meet our current benchmark while bringing new opportunities to mobilise our business.


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The art of the possible

Jonathan Hamill talks to the Journal about his hopes for the newly-established BAPCO Small Business Group


ormed with the endorsement of the board and executive, the BAPCO small business group will provide a representative voice for micro and small business members of the organisation. The group aims to enable members to network, seek-out business development opportunities, learn, influence markets and stakeholders, as well as keep up to date with current developments. The scope of operation spans public safety and civil contingencies communications, and information systems. One area of interest for the group – but by no means the only area – is the Emergency Services Network. An ongoing issue in the run-up to roll-out has been a perceived lack of actionable information concerning some fairly central areas of the programme, such as coverage and devices. This is understandable, given the cutting edge, monumentally complicated nature of the project, which at this point is the very definition of a work in progress. This fact has provided little comfort however, to those depending on a clear view of the horizon when it comes to technology. These include not just public safety officials, but also manufacturers themselves.

Kept awake at night

The small business group is led by Jonathan Hamill, a management consultant and long-time member of BAPCO, whose background in emergency services communications systems stretches back to his days as an officer in Durham Constabulary. More recently, he led a global government business for a leading telecommunications manufacturer. He gave an overview of the initiative, and how it fits within the organisation. “The group is for micro and small businesses,” he says. “The definition of the latter is those with less than fifty employees, and whose turnover is under ten million pounds a year. “Essentially, we wanted to create a representative body for businesses who don’t have a massive marketing department, or can’t necessarily access the decision-making organisations on their own. “Our members currently include manufacturers, service providers and consultants, as well as subcontractors to larger suppliers. Some are UK only, while others operate internationally. Some are international organisations looking to export into the UK.” He continues: “One of the first things we did was to sit down at Telford this year, to discuss problem areas – the things that keep people awake at night. These included areas


such as procurement, access to end-user organisations, and visibility within the market. “A major issue is being able to access information about upcoming opportunities within the Emergency Services Network. We have more work to do in this area.” Since the initial meeting at BAPCO 2017 the group has established a LinkedIn presence primarily, according to Hamill, to share information and to facilitate discussion amongst the membership. Subsequent gatherings have also taken place, for instance at the association’s Spring Event in Edinburgh, where the group invited a guest speaker to focus on what Hamill refers to as “the maze of procurement.” Future meetings will consider issues around finance and export, with the potential for input from a financial institution, and the Department for International Trade.

Around the corner

As indicated, a crucial element for any business, big or small, is to be able to acquire knowledge regarding what’s around the “It would be corner, thereby maximising operations going great to see into the future. This is particularly the case engagement for those involved in the development and between the small business roll-out of new technology. So how does a business prepare for group and bodies such as what’s coming – or indeed, function in the present –, when information is so thin on the National the ground? And what ways are there to Police gain an advantage? Technology “It’s actually a bit of a minefield,” says Council, and Hamill. “If you look at the Emergency PCCs”

October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO

Adobe Stock/yurolaitsalbert


Jonathan Hamill

The Emergency Services Network represents a massive opportunity to embed the use of data into everyday public safety comms business. Once the system is up and running, possibilities include something as simple as rich messaging in the field, or as sophisticated as increasing real-time situational awareness via the use of drones. For Hamill however, a vital thing going forward is that emergency services organisations know what problems they want to solve, rather than becoming dazzled by technology itself in the first instance. This should then, according to him, feed into their

relationship with suppliers. He said: “I’ve been to many presentations and industry events where the discussion is around how technology will transform policing. “The broadband data service available via ESN is, for example, a key enabler to achieve transformation. However, emergency services organisations need to take time now to visualise what they want to achieve, what that end-state is, and how technology can be used to help.” With that in mind, one of the things Hamill says he would like to work towards is closer ties between manufacturers and emergency services professional organisations. This he believes, will help to drive digitisation and transformation, via a partnership approach. “It would be great to see engagement between the small business group, and bodies such as the National Police Technology Council, the Police ICT Company, and PCCs overseeing regional collaboration,” he says. “They could inform us about key issues that they’re grappling with, and we could respond with considered input about how innovation and technology could help.” This he says would simultaneously allow businesses, and emergency services organisations to maximise their resources by cutting out the need for meetings on a per-organisation basis. He also advocates initiatives such as offering businesses the chance to deliver elevator pitches at major events, something which proved to be a roaring success at this year’s Police ICT conference. This he describes as almost like a back-channel (albeit played out in public) between emergency services and suppliers. The Emergency Services Network has the opportunity to be an epoch-defining development in the history of the UK emergency services. By helping user groups broaden their understanding of what Hamill refers to as “the art of the possible,” the BAPCO small business group could become central to that story. 

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017


Services Network as one example, you can develop an awareness of the direction of travel relatively easily by approaching bodies such as [LTE standardisation organisation] 3GPP. They could inform your approach, but again, that’s dependent on your ability as a small business to permeate that organisation and to filter the critical information.” He continued: “The more difficult thing is in knowing what the requirement’s going to be from the emergency services once the technology side is locked down. This is something that the users are still working on themselves as part of an ongoing process. “It’s not always clear how smaller companies are going to get involved. I suspect though that there will be many opportunities to support the UK emergency services in their quest for digitisation.”

Know what you want


The future is now European projects manager Paul Hirst discusses BAPCO’s involvement in 5G ESSENCE, a new European project looking at edge cloud computing and small cell as a service


ritish APCO has become a partner agency in 5G ESSENCE (‘embedded network services for 5G experiences’), a new project aimed at fully exploiting next-generation LTE technology. Funded by the European Commission under its Horizon 2020 programme, the initiative consists of 21 partners and is co-ordinated by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, based in Athens. It resulted from a bid in the 2016 H2020 ICT call for ‘5G PPP [5G public private partnership] research and validation of critical technologies and systems’. Clearly, BAPCO is specifically interested in use-cases involving public safety applications, particularly relating to 5G ESSENCE’s expected common orchestration of radio, network and cloud resources. It is hoped that new tools will enable the sharing of radio and edge computing capabilities in localised/temporary network deployments between public safety and commercial users. The challenge will be to prioritise public safety.


5G ESSENCE follows on from previous work taking place in the SESAME (small cells co-ordination for multi-tenancy and edge services) project. This looked at innovations around three central elements relating to 5G: - The placement of network intelligence and applications in the network edge, through network functions virtualisation (NFV) and edge cloud computing - The substantial evolution of the small cell concept, expected to deliver its full potential in challenging, high-density 5G scenarios - The consolidation of multi-tenancy in communications infrastructures, allowing several operators to engage in new sharing models of both access capacity and edge computing capabilities. Part of SESAME’s work was to propose the cloud-enabled small cell (CESC) concept. This is a new multi-operator-enabled small cell, integrating a virtualised execution platform for deploying virtual network functions (NVFs). It also supports powerful self-x management, while executing novel applications and services inside the access-network infrastructure. This will feature low-power processors alongside hardware accelerators for time-critical operations, building a highly


manageable clustered edge computing infrastructure. The approach will allow new stakeholders to dynamically enter the value chain by acting as ‘host-neutral’ providers in high-traffic areas where densification of multiple networks is not practical.

Opportunities for amortisation

5G ESSENCE addresses edge cloud computing/small cell as a service, fuelling the drivers and removing the barriers in the small cell market itself. It will provide a highly flexible and scalable platform, able to support new business models and revenue streams by creating a neutral host market and reducing operational costs. It will do this by providing new opportunities for ownership, deployment, operation and amortisation. The technical approach being taken by the project exploits the benefits of centralised small cell functions, as scale grows through an edge cloud environment based on a two-tier architecture. The first of these is a distributed tier for providing low-latency services, while the second is centralised for the provision of high processing power for computing-intensive network applications. This allows the decoupling of control and user planes of the radio access network (RAN) and achieving the benefits of CloudRAN without the enormous front-haul latency restrictions. The use of end-to-end network slicing mechanisms will allow sharing of the 5G ESSENCE infrastructure among multiple operators/ vertical industries, and the customisation of its capabilities on a per-tenant basis. The versatility of the architecture is enhanced by high-performance virtualisation techniques for data isolation, latency reduction and resource efficiency. In terms of effort, BAPCO is one of the smallest partners in the consortium with only eight months required across the project’s duration. This is primarily in areas including use-case elaboration, demonstration and evaluation, and dissemination of project developments and outcomes. 5G ESSENCE began in June this year and will run for 30 months until the end of November 2019. It will subsequently conclude with the demonstration of mission-critical applications for public safety. Regular updates will be given both through the Journal and at BAPCO events as the initiative moves forward.

October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO


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Come hell and high water Following the devastation wrought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Nick Hawkins discusses how digital solutions can help mitigate the effects of flooding

The scenario

Floods have been increasingly on the emergency services’ agenda in recent years, a situation which – taking climate change into account – looks unlikely to ease any time soon. (And which was thrown into sharp, tragic relief by recent events in the southern states of the USA and the Caribbean). In the worst instances, the consequences of heavy rainfall are devastating – for instance, in 2007 in Gloucester and Tewkesbury, where two months’ rain fell in 36 hours, leaving 5,000 homes and businesses underwater. Just two years ago in 2015, meanwhile, storms Desmond, Eva and Frank left 16,000 homes in Cumbria flooded in the wettest December in 100 years. The rescue efforts in 2007 were nothing short of spectacular, amounting to the biggest peacetime operation of its kind in UK history. That said, gaps in the response have been identified – not least in the realm of communication. To paraphrase Sir Michael Pitt’s review of the incident, published in December of the same year, responders in some areas were apparently not as ready as they might have been. “In part,” says the report, “this can be explained by the unprecedented nature of the events, especially when set against a historic pattern of more localised, low-impact flooding events. “But it is also clear that, in some areas, there were no agreed protocols between responders, setting out responsibilities for assessing the potential impact of a specific severe weather event and triggering an appropriate multi-agency response. This gap, crucial to the initiation of an effective emergency response, needs to be filled.” A decade on from the disaster – and in the light of the events of 2015 – the question is, are we better prepared to handle such a crisis? What if something of a similar magnitude happened tomorrow, this time in a major metropolitan area such as Manchester?

The solution

The speed of technological development over the past ten years has been unprecedented, not least when it comes to tools at the disposal of public safety authorities. In the same way, a combination of big data analytics, Internet of Things applications and cloud technology has fundamentally changed how it is possible to communicate during a crisis. With that in mind, let’s look first at the advances made in terms of predicting and dealing


with extreme weather on a wider scale. While weather forecasting is never going to be an exact science, the use of increasingly advanced supercomputers to analyse data in real time ensures blue-light services can predict danger zones much more accurately than before. At the same time, the ongoing development of IoT applications is clearly also going to have an impact on flood efforts, with sensors now not only able to report on risks as they arise, but also take subsequent direct action, such as operating floodgates. This is already happening in the UK, as exemplified by the Oxford Flood Network project. An example of this is if sensors on a riverbank deployed upstream detect unusually large volumes or speeds of running “Where water. Once the danger is registered, two-way they can automatically instruct floodgates communications to close, or to divert water away from are available, residential or industrial areas. saftey workers Moving onto communications tools would use available on the ground, these too have feedback from greatly improved following the Gloucester residents to floods (which is not to say the tech per se focus resources, was flawed at the time, merely the protocols prioritise behind how personnel were communicating evacuation and with one another). so on” As in 2007, the emergency services

October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO

Adobe stock: Satoshi Kina


currently use two-way radio to speak at the scene of an incident, something that will continue until Airwave’s planned switch-off following the imminent Emergency Services Network (ESN) roll-out. The 4G-enabled ESN, meanwhile, will not only provide pushto-talk comparable to TETRA, but also the ability to send data over the air. This should enable greatly increased situational awareness on the part of the public safety personnel, including the ability to send out video images of a developing incident to firefighters and police officers in real time. This – assuming all goes to plan with the programme – will put responders at a real advantage. One huge, potentially game-changing, development since the floods of a decade ago is that it is now far easier to communicate with large groups of people all at once. This includes both emergency services personnel, but also, crucially, members of the public themselves. The most obvious example of this is social media, with one of the earliest indications of its effectiveness apparent during the 2011 London riots, where users warned each other of danger, organised clean-up efforts and so on. With that in mind, the potential to employ something like Twitter for a similar purpose during a major

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017

flooding incident is obvious – this time with the emergency services leading the charge. Possibly even more profound – and certainly more ‘directed’ – than social media, however, is the recent development of critical communications platforms, of which the company I work for, Everbridge, produces just one example. Broadly speaking, these are cloud-based solutions through which critical notifications can be sent using a variety of different communications media (eg email, SMS, text-to-speech and so on) in real time. Parallel with this is the ability to provide a picture of who is in a particular vicinity within a multi-mile radius, via geo-fencing. While certainly not a replacement for traditional digital communications, these platforms are a fit for use during floods, giving as they do the opportunity to build instant situational awareness, in particular relating to those caught up in the incident. In the first instance, this means emergency services responders, who would be mobilised en masse, whether currently on duty or not. The multi-modal nature of these systems means that the chances of the recipient getting the message are much higher than just relying on a single channel. More than this, however, by using geographic information, authorities can also communicate with the public, targeting them on a street-by-street basis. Where two-way communications are available, meanwhile, safety workers would use feedback from residents to focus resources, prioritise evacuation and so on. Going back to our original scenario of a major flood in a UK metropolitan area, the primary goal using this kind of critical communications platform would be to urge members of the public in the area to remain calm and stay where they are. A comparable task meanwhile would be to make sure people are safe by requiring them to check in. Once personal safety has been established, information would then be fed out relating to the incident as it is happening in real time. This could include intelligence regarding water levels, changing weather conditions as well as the progress of the emergency services. We know this works because of our experience working with the State of Florida during Hurricane Matthew last year. We sent millions of messages to residents during that incident via the AlertFlorida programme, providing them with critical alerts as well as evacuation orders. Regarding corporate responsibility, we have helped very large companies reach their employees and re-route them during major critical incidents. While these methods were used during incidents such as the Westminster terror attack in March 2017 as opposed to heavy flooding, the principle is the same. 

Author: Nick Hawkins

Nick Hawkins is managing director EMEA of Everbridge.



On to Newcastle

The BAPCO Autumn Event is going from strengthto-strength. Here’s a taste of what visitors can expect this year


his year’s annual BAPCO Autumn Event will return to St James’ Park in Newcastle, taking place on 8 and 9 November. With the Emergency Services Network switch-on getting ever closer, this autumn we’re posing the question ‘Where are we now?’. As such, the event will provide a packed programme of sessions, including the latest updates on the delivery and potential use of ESN. The event will build on the success of previous years, creating a powerful concentration of members and partners from across our public safety community. It will complement the Annual Event, as well as the newly introduced Spring Event, helping to keep critical initiatives progressing throughout the year. More than 400 public safety communications professionals are set to join the discussion in Newcastle, alongside a bustling exhibition consisting of leading industry suppliers. Attendees will represent members from the public sector, private sector, users, suppliers and consultants, both from the UK and abroad. Speaking about his expectations for Newcastle 2017, BAPCO president John Anthony said: “As everyone is aware, this is the most critical time for public safety communications in a generation, with the UK leading the world in providing broadband and voice data to its emergency services. “With that in mind, the event will cover the most crucial topics and new technologies affecting public safety communications. It will also offer knowledge exchange to all those in attendance, via numerous sessions, exhibits and displays. Every year the Newcastle event grows in stature and reputation, and this is set to continue in 2017.” As always, the BAPCO Autumn Event will be free for members of the organisation, who make up an integral part of a worldwide network of public safety communications/ information technology professionals. Members’ experience, knowledge and expertise helps us to achieve our goal of excellent knowledge transfer in the realm of public safety/civil contingencies. We look forward to welcoming you to Newcastle this November. Many thanks to our sponsors: Motorola Solutions ZTE Hexagon Capita Secure Information Solutions Saab AB APD. 


What to expect Free attendance for BAPCO members Two half days of sessions Home Office ESMCP team representation Networking dinner to relax and catch up Refreshments including a lunch on day one A busy exhibition area Pitch-view private boxes for private meetings Networking opportunities throughout the event Unique city centre venue with on-site parking.

Preliminary programme highlights Autumn Event highlights include: ‘ESMCP update’ – Becca Jones, ESMCP Transition Director ‘The practical reality of Airwave communications during a major incident’ – Inspector Simon Davies, Police User Configuration Lead, OCiP; Laura Lewis, Airwave Tactical Adviser, GMP ‘The International Critical Control Rooms Alliance (ICCRA)’ – Peter Prater, Chairman, ICCRA.

Reasons you must attend Meet in-person with around 400 national

delegates who are key influencers and decisionmakers in their speciality Conduct important networking conversations during the welcome reception, networking dinner and refreshment breaks Be seen alongside your industry peers and competitors, thereby helping to cement your organisation’s stature in the safety communications marketplace.

October 2017 | www.bapco.org.uk | Twitter: @BritishAPCO

Autumn Event 2017 St James’ Park, Newcastle 8 - 9 November 2017

Public Safety Communications - Where are we now?

Main Partner

Join 300+ public safety communications professionals to hear about, debate and discuss the latest updates and progress on the delivery of the Emergency Services Network

Register your place!

Secure your seat at www.bapco.org.uk • Two half days of sessions • Home Office ESMCP team representatives • Networking dinner to relax and catch up • Refreshments including a lunch on day 1

• Exhibition with leading industry suppliers • Pitch-view private boxes for private meetings • Networking opportunities throughout the event • Unique city centre venue with onsite parking

Registration is FREE for all BAPCO Members

Non-member fees apply. Join BAPCO today at www.bapco.org.uk

Sponsorship & Exhibition

There are limited sponsorship and exhibition opportunities remaining. For more information contact Jo Sloan at jo@echoevents.org or call 0191 241 4523 Contact Us: Tel: 03303 327173 | support@bapco.org.uk | www.bapco.org.uk |



Ongoing change BAPCO chief executive Ian Thompson looks at the improvements being made to the organisation’s magazine and website, and ahead to upcoming key events

B Why should you become a member? British APCO provides an active information exchange between all those engaged in the use and provision of public safety control rooms and communications. British APCO membership provides you with: A sector magazine – the British APCO Journal – four times per year. Free entry at all of our annual and regional information exchange and conferencing events. Regular newsletter updates on recent developments surrounding the association and the public safety world. Sign-in to the ‘Members’ area of the BAPCO website.This will give access to presentations and full details of our project work and other relevant information. A unique opportunity to network with other professionals engaged in this critically important facet of the work of the public safety and resilience services.

efore writing my piece for this edition of the Journal, I looked back at the last few issues to see how we are doing. I hope you’ll agree that the BAPCO Journal is going from strength to strength, including must-read content on every page. Keep the comments coming in letting us know what you would like to read about, as well as how we are doing. The feedback from members so far about the changes which have been made to the magazine have been very positive. Having revamped the Journal, work is now under way to also redesign the “Having British APCO website. With the agreement of the revamped the Executive Committee, we are investing and adding Journal, work is features in order to help make it a more useful now under way to resource for you. I’ll pass on more updates as the also redesign the work progresses. Coming back to the physical world, planning website. We are continues for our British APCO events, which I hope making it a more are already fixed in your calendars. Our Annual useful resource Conference & Exhibition will be at Coventry’s Ricoh for you” Arena on 20 and 21 March 2018, and we have already had several planning meetings, including with representatives of the Home Office ESMCP team. They have agreed to support the event again, with a number of speakers. Before Coventry 2018, however, we have our Autumn Event, taking place in Newcastle on 8 and 9 November. As well as a sterling speaker line-up, it will also be the venue for our biennial general meeting, which will be held during the event. All members of the organisation are welcome to attend, and official notices will be published beforehand. Continuing on the subject of events, I’m pleased to say that the Executive Committee has agreed to host something in 2018 similar to this year’s Edinburgh spring conference. Details are still being worked out, but the plan is for it to take place in June. Finally, as many of you will know, BAPCO past president Phil Kidner has retired as chief executive of the Tetra and Critical Communications Association (TCCA). Always a pleasure to work with, Phil has done so much to advance public safety communications across the world. We wish him well in his retirement.

Ian Thompson Chief executive, BAPCO 38

Twitter: @BritishAPCO | www.bapco.org.uk | October 2017



The 25th Annual Event for Public Safety Communications


e r e wh can p ho stry nge s top Indu xcha s ne and nd e o ct roje P “A sers rk a ge & ade n U two a ig s Ch ire Br s ” e e . n eas N Busin ndon F id ad of ES ent | Lo He agem n Ma

98 %

of vis i the m tors rate B o in the st impor APCO as tant e secto vent r 84 %

of vis i to ma tors make k the sh e a purch or intend ase a ow t 80 %

To register your interest in the event, please visit www.bapco-show.co.uk/register

of vis i speci tors atten ficall d y with exhib to netwo rk itors

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Bapco Journal - October 2017  

Bapco Journal - October 2017