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The Met future-proofs with Tetra handsets

Antony Savvas
The Metropolitan Police has ordered 30,000 radio handsets from Motorola in a multimillion-pound deal, but most of the advanced features on the handsets will not immediately be available to officers on the beat.

In a competitive tender, the Met chose Motorola's MTH800 handset ahead of Tetra (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) handsets from companies including Nokia.

The colour handsets will work on the police's national Airwave Tetra network and will include support for extensive data, imaging, and location-based services - the main reason the Met chose the MTH800.

However, none of these features currently work on the Met's communications system because the force does not have the back-end architecture to support them.

Chief superintendent Peter Goulding, chairman of the board that decided to go with Motorola, said the feature-rich handsets were chosen so the force's network would be "future-proofed".

Goulding said, "This is a multimillion-pound contract that will deliver substantial savings on what we thought we would pay for such functionality."

Goulding said the 30,000 handsets would be introduced over a 15-month period, with officers continuing to use the existing analogue radio service during the changeover.

He admitted that the Met would initially only use the voice service on the handsets, because it lacked the systems to support the data, photo and satellite global positioning features on the terminals.

The GPS system, if introduced, will allow a control room to use maps to precisely locate an officer on the beat.

Goulding said, "Additional contracts will be considered to enable these features to be introduced, and Motorola will not necessarily be the company to implement this architecture."

Motorola said police forces in Kent, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and seven Scottish forces have also placed orders for the MTH800.

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