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Cops go hi-tech

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

POLICE officers in one part of the region will each receive a new digital hi-tech radio in a bid to encourage them to look after their handsets.

Officers on duty in Sufflk usually use a radio from a "pool" at the station, but soon they will be allowed to take one of the new Airwave radios home.

POLICE officers in one part of the region will each receive a new digital hi-tech radio in a bid to encourage them to look after their handsets.

Officers on duty in Sufflk usually use a radio from a "pool" at the station, but soon they will be allowed to take one of the new Airwave radios home.

The £2.9 billion nationwide BT Airwave service will replace the current ailing police radio system with digital mobile phone technology.

The new service will give better coverage, text messaging plus every radio has an emergency button. Criminals can no longer listen into police conversations on the new system.

Deputy Chief Constable, Gillian Parker, said: "We always say that the radio is the police officers' life-line, but the pool system puts them at risk every day. We have had officers in life-threatening situations, who have tried to call for help only to find they have picked up a faulty radio."

Mrs Parker added that officers would not be liable for any loss or damage to the new radios.

"Overall we believe the radios will be kept in better condition in the long run if officers do take them home, but a limited number of lockers will be available for officers who elect not to do so," she said.

Police chiefs said other benefits of taking the radios home mean they may be used at any time and officers can receive calls and be better informed when arriving for duty.

Suffolk still aims to be the first force in East Anglia to start introducing the service next Spring.

The Force Control Room has started using a new touch screen system which uses the current analogue radio and telephony.

Most of the radio sites are now working and radio coverage testing started in December.

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