§ Mr. Richard Page
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to allocate new radio communication channels for police and fire brigades following the World Administrative Radio Conference 1979; and when action will be taken to implement them.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Discussions are taking place to secure suitable frequencies. When these have been concluded, specifications for replacement equipment will be completed and orders placed for those police forces and fire brigades in the Home Office wireless schemes. Forces and brigades remaining outside the Home Office wireless scheme will be responsible for their own equipment. Conversion to the new frequencies is likely to be in stages beginning in the South East in 1985 and finishing in the North in 1989. Planning has already begun. One objective will be to ensure that such inter-communication as is needed by users of the new schemes will be practicable. The methods used will depend on the frequencies allocated and the equipment specified. The Police and fire services and the local authority associations will be kept in touch with progress.
Discussions are also taking place with industry. United Kingdom-based industry is strongly represented and has been given full opportunity to study the technical aspects, to make proposals and to explain the wider commercial 282W effect of such proposals. Contracting for equipment by the Home Office will follow Government procurement policies and procedures.