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The New Zealand Police Association, Te Aka Hāpai welcomes the Government’s commitment to a new Public Safety Network for Police and other emergency workers which will allow them to communicate securely with each other and emergency communications centres, no matter which part of the country they are working in.

The association debated the Next Generation Critical Communications (NGCC) programme at its annual conference last month, so this announcement is extremely timely.

Police Association President Chris Cahill says members have long been calling for the aging communications system to be updated to cellular and digital radio systems, and in the future PSN will be able to deliver new technologies as and when they are proved and affordable.

“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 comms for many years, more rural and larger districts such as Northland and Central have continued on with the unsecure analogue system.

“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,” Mr Cahill says.

The association considers members of the public who are being assisted by police officers, and the officers themselves, have every right to believe the technology being used is reliable, up to date and fit for the job.

“We have been realistic about secure Police comms 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.

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