Emergency crews ‘use mobiles in radio black spots’ - MLA claims

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EMERGENCY crews are responding to calls on personal mobile phones because of blind spots in a new radio network, it has been claimed.

Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan called for a resolution to network failure in the Glens and part of the Coast Road.

The PSNI shares its digital Barracuda radio system with the other emergency services and Mr McMullan has urged for an upgrade. He said: “This is a digital system, very like modern mobile phones, that all emergency services and the forestry service are using. While it is secure, it has been found to lose signal in certain parts of the Glens and along the coast.

“At present I believe all the emergency services are affected by this problem and recently some crews responding to emergency calls were forced to use their private mobile phones.

“To make the situation worse, there are areas along the coast and in the Glens where mobile phones also have no coverage and it is not uncommon for house owners to allow the use of their land lines.

“The PSNI need to be aware of the situation, because their patrols will experience the same problems.

“We must, as a priority, get this problem resolved as in all emergencies wasted time could cost lives.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: “While we do not comment on operational policing matters, the Police Service of Northern Ireland utilise a wide range of means to communicate, in line with the corporate Information Communications Systems strategy.”