PAC report shows lives at risk by delayed emergency services communications plan

Planned changes by the Home Office to emergency service communications are set to strike a "potentially catastrophic blow" to the ability of the police, fire and ambulance services to keep citizens safe, according to a damning report by the Public Accounts Committee.

The Government plans to replace the Airwave system currently used by emergency services to communicate with each other with a new Emergency Services Network (ESN).

However, because of serious delays, part of the existing current Airwave system is set be taken out of service before the new system is in place. The report has also found taxpayers will inevitably end up paying more because of the delays, at an estimated cost of £475 million a year.

John Pugh, Liberal Democrat MP and member of the Public Accounts Committee, commented:

"This level of oversight by the Government is utterly scandalous.

"Lives could be put at risk and the UK's vulnerability to a major terrorist attack increased all because of this gross negligence. Meanwhile taxpayers are being asked to fork out millions of pounds for the privilege.

"The Government must act urgently to ensure our police and ambulance staff are able to keep the public safe.

"Theresa May approved these plans as Home Secretary. Ultimately the buck for this colossal failure lies with her."


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