The NZ Police Association, Te Aka Hāpai, has welcomed the Government’s commitment to a new Public Safety Network (PSN) for Police and other emergency workers that will allow them to communicate securely and successfully with each other regardless of their location.
The Association debated the Next Generation Critical Communications (NGCC) programme at its annual conference last month, saying today’s announcement was “extremely timely”.
Police Association President, Chris Cahill says members have long been calling for the ageing communications system to be updated to cellular and digital radio systems.
“The issue for our members is that while larger metropolitan areas such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as specialist groups such as AOS have been able to use secure communications for many years, more rural and larger districts such as Northland and Central have continued on with the unsecure analogue system,” said Mr Cahill.
“The Association believes this is a health and safety issue for officers, especially frontline first responders nationwide who need secure, multi-network priority cellular broadband capability.
“This is particularly so if the officers are working alone in isolated areas, or they need to access essential information that assists in the decisions they may have to make in very short timeframes,” he said.
Mr Cahill said the Association considers members of the public and the officers assisting them had every right to believe the technology being used was reliable, up to date and fit for the job.
“We have been realistic about secure Police communications being a long-term project over several years, given the complexities of technology and a whole-of-emergency services approach.”
“It is great to now see the commitment to the investment required to make this a reality,” Mr Cahill said.