Emergency services get new secure radio network

Shannon Hampton
Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, Minister for Emergency Services Joe Francis and Great Southern Police District Superintendent Kath Bullen in Albany for the launch of the new digital radio network.

Albany's emergency services agencies will have more secure communication after the launch of the Albany Trunked Radio Network on Friday.

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan and Minister for Emergency Services Joe Francis were in Albany on Friday to launch the $94.5 million Royalties for Regions-funded digital radio network, which is being rolled out across the State.

The Albany network is the third instalment and will cover close to 5000sq miles, including Mt Barker, the Albany and Pardelup Regional Prisons and other surrounding areas.

Mr Francis said the new radio network was a safer way for WA Police, the Department of Corrective Services and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to communicate because there would be fewer black spots and outside sources would be unable to tamper with the signal.

"What it effectively does is provide a clearer, more secure form of communication for agencies, allowing them to work together, to inter-operate better and the result of that is obviously a safer community and a safer working environment," he said.

Great Southern District Superintendent Cath Bullen said an operational trial took place between February 18 and March 4 and it proved beneficial along the Albany coast.

"In places like the Gap and Salmon Holes, clarity has been far better," she said.

Commissioner O'Callaghan said the radio network was an important part of infrastructure for WA Police and emergency services.

"We think always about police numbers on the street and police stations, but we also have to think about infrastructure - the radio network is very important for police and emergency services to be able to operate," he said.