The new Emergency Services Network (ESN) will provide the dedicated teams who work so hard protecting the public and saving lives with the most advanced communications system of its kind anywhere in the world. There will be no risks with public safety and there will be no gap in the emergency services’ communications provision. It will ultimately be for the emergency services themselves to confirm they are content with the new ESN service, as the existing Airwave system will continue until transition on to the ESN is completed.
The Airwave network will remain operational until the emergency services have transitioned to using the new Emergency Services Network.
The current agreement with Motorola can be extended equally for a fixed price per region per month. The regional extension price enables the Government to only buy additional Airwave service for those regions requiring the service for longer. In terms of funding of future ASL contract extensions falling to the police service in England and Wales, these decisions will be subject to ministerial consideration at that time as part of the annual police finance settlement.
In respect of costs to police forces I can confirm that the Home Office contributes 75% of the costs of setting up and operating the core network element of ESN to reflect the policing (England and Wales) share of the joint emergency service programme. This share of Core costs is met through a reallocation within the police funding settlement. Police & Crime Commissioners will meet certain local costs, such as new handsets for officers, from their general budgets as they do now.
This is cutting-edge technology, and the Programme has always been clear that it will not take any risks with public safety. The emergency services will transition when they consider the network ready. Greater clarity on the date ESN will be available is likely to be understood by the end of the year.
The costs of upgrading to the Emergency Services Network and the costs to extend Airwave contracts for the emergency services are available in the public domain at: