The Tániaste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell, T.D., today announced that Tetra Ireland Ltd have been selected as the preferred bidder for the provision of the National Digital Radio Service and are currently working with An Garda Síochána and other Departments and Agencies on the rollout of the service which will be delivered in two phases:
- A service performance evaluation in an area covering parts of Dublin including the Port and Airport and north into Co. Meath.
- Nationwide rollout
In a function in Balbriggan Garda Station at which the new technology was demonstrated, the Tánaiste said "The Government has been consistently committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána will receive every possible support to enable them to operate effectively as a modern police force including the provision of information and communications technology to place them on a par with the best equipped police forces in the world. Today marks another significant landmark in delivering on that promise.
The provision of this service is of major importance to An Garda Síochána in their fight against crime. It will provide a secure communications service which is effective, resilient and reliable by ensuring there is no single point of failure in the system. The service will also open up opportunities for new and improved service delivery models by An Garda Síochána themselves such as the opportunity to rationalise Radio Control Rooms into a small number of dedicated specialist and dedicated centres."
Tetra Ireland is a company formed for the delivery of the National Digital Radio services and comprises of a consortium of:
- Sigma Wireless
The first performance evaluation phase involves the provision of a live working system during which Tetra Ireland will demonstrate that they can provide a working solution to meet the detailed specifications and standards required of an emergency services network. This first phase will be completed by July this year.
Subject to the satisfactory completion of Phase 1, and successful contract negotiations, nationwide rollout will then commence and be completed within a 2 year timeframe. As the rollout progresses and radio coverage is available, Garda Divisions will be migrating onto the new service.
The new National Digital Radio Service offers a broad range of services and advantages over existing analogue systems to the force including;
- Increased Security of digital radio services
Digital Radio transmissions are secured against eavesdropping and interception which is a major concern for analogue radio systems.
- Increased protection for Garda officers on operational duty
Digital Radios come equipped with emergency 'single push' buttons which will transmit an emergency signal to the User Group and to the Dispatcher in the event of an emergency. An Garda Síochána will have the facility to dispatch assistance immediately to that location.
- Improved Voice Quality over analogue systems
Digital Technology is proven to be less susceptible to interference caused by weak signals and noise interference.
- Increased Radio Coverage
Unlike analogue, digital radio conversations can be maintained over varied terrain and long distances. The new Digital Radio service will offer An Garda Síochána a minimum of 96% handheld radio coverage in any 1 square kilometre of the country with most areas having over 99% coverage. The new Digital Radio Service will provide An Garda Síochána with the ability to allow person-to-person or group communication between locations nationwide.
- Coverage for Air support and off shore
The service will provide Air coverage which will be available to the Garda Helicopters and other aircraft. Coverage is also extended off shore for rescue and for other operations.
- Communication with other emergency services
The service will enable inter- agency communications so that, for emergencies and other operational reasons, a member of An Garda Síochána can be in direct communications with his of her counterparts in the other emergency services.
- Communications to mobile and land lines
The new Digital Radio service will be fully integrated to provide duplex communications allowing digital radio terminals to access mobile and landline based telephone systems.
- Data Services
Digital radio provides the ability to transmit data as well as voice thereby allowing members of the Force to use their radios for many other functions. For example, the service may be used to provide officers on the ground with access to photographs, vehicle registration details, details of wanted persons etc.
- Interoperability with other Police Forces
The new Digital radio service will allow for interoperability with digital radio system used by the PSNI as provided for under the Inter-governmental agreement on North/South Police Co-operation for establishing and enhancing fast, effective and reliable communications between both Forces.
26 March 2007