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046/2013 – Provision of Airwave coverage throughout Fulford Road police station – 18 June 2013

Executive Summary and recommendation:

Fulford Road is one of the forces main police stations, and a key ‘diamond’ location. It provides the largest custody suite within the North Yorkshire Police area, and the site also houses the Force Control Room.

The Fulford Road main police station does not currently afford Airwave Radio coverage throughout the whole of the building, and this introduces operational risk as officers cannot be assured of radio coverage throughout the building.

Work has been undertaken to ascertain the costs associated with provision of Airwave coverage throughout this key site, and this paper request approval to invest in provision of infrastructure to ensure that there is Airwave reception throughout the main building.

This paper recommends the organisation invests in the provision of Airwave radio coverage throughout the Fulford Road police station, and the associated annual service costs.

Police and Crime Commissioner decision: approved

Signature Date 18 June 2013
Title Police & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire
jm-signature

Part 1 – Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

Introduction and background

Fulford Road is one of the forces main police stations, and a key ‘diamond’ location. It provides the largest custody suite within the North Yorkshire Police (NYP) area, and the site also houses the Force Control Room.

The Fulford Road main police station does not currently afford Airwave Radio coverage throughout the whole of the building, and this introduces operational risk as officers cannot be assured of radio coverage throughout the building (see matters for consideration for further information) . The current contract will run up to 31st March 2019.

Work has been undertaken to ascertain the costs associated with provision of Airwave coverage throughout this key site, and this paper request approval to invest in provision of infrastructure to ensure that there is Airwave reception throughout the main building.

As part of the work to investigate the costs associated with this provision, it has come to light that the Force has been paying for enhanced Airwave coverage at the following locations:

  • Bedale
  • Leyburn
  • Stokesley
  • Great Ayton

However, it transpires that this ‘spot enhancement’ (categorised as a “menu” item) has never been provided to the high levels specified by the Force. The spot enhancements was to provide enhanced in building coverage where possible, and the four locations had been identified as sites where this was required. Subsequent testing work (undertaken in 2009) identified that the ‘spot enhancement’ was not being provided to the level required , but NYP were being invoiced and had paid for this additional service.

Since identifying this shortfall in service delivery work has been ongoing to find a resolution to the issue. Further testing work has been undertaken by the Radio Communications team, in conjunction with local Inspectors and the Safer Neighbourhood Commander. This work has identified that the current level of coverage is acceptable for hand held radios in these areas. This risk assessment has concluded that there are no risks identified as a result of not having the spot enhancement; additionally it is noted that we have been operating for a number of years without the spot enhancement and officers have not been reporting any issues as a result of lack of coverage.

In view of the results of the risk assessment, it is clear that the spot enhancement in these locations is not required. On this basis there has been dialogue with Airwave, to secure a refund/credit of monies paid in respect of services that were not received.

The Home Office have also provided input and advice into this dialogue, and the outcome is that NYP and Airwave have reached an agreement whereby they will refund/credit the payments for the period 2009 to date. This results in NYP being in credit for an amount of £37,203.38.

Proposal:

As part of the work to resolve the issue of non-provision of spot enhancement at the four locations, Airwave have been requested to provide quotes for provision of full coverage in the main building at Fulford Road, York. Detailed below are three options to secure this essential coverage and mitigate operational risk associated with officers being out of radio contact whilst in the building.

Option 1:

NYP downgrades the contractual coverage for the four identified locations (up to the end of the contract). This will result in NYP receiving a credit of £37,203.38 and there would be a reduced ongoing annual charge of circa £10,136. This option does not provide for there being the required additional coverage provision at Fulford Road, but the organisation would make savings against current contract and costs. The organisation would have to accept the risks associated with the lack of radio coverage in the main building.

Total saving up to 31.03.19 £97,174.64 (includes the £37,203.38 credit)

Option 2:

NYP request Airwave to provide full radio coverage throughout the Fulford Road building. As part of this provision, NYP would agree to continue to pay as per the current contract (i.e. it would appear that we were still paying for the spot enhancement coverage at the four identified locations). Airwave would offset the credit against implementation costs, and the ongoing payments for the four locations would eventually cover the costs of the implementation and ongoing service costs for Fulford Road up to the end of the contract. If NYP were to pay for these services the financial position would be:

Installation £66,089
Ongoing service charges £32,145
(£535.75 per month for 60 months)
Total £98,234

Option 3:

This option would involve having full Airwave radio coverage throughout the main Fulford Road police station. The credit would be offset against the implementation costs, NYP accounts and contract would reflect a reduction in respect of the monthly charges for the four locations (where spot enhancement is not provided) and an increases in costs in respect of service charges for the Fulford Road main building. The financial position for this proposal is as follows:

Implementation costs £66,089
Less credit £37,203 (cr)
Balance to be paid for
Installation £28,886
Ongoing service charges £32,145
(£535.75 per month for 60 months wef 1.4.14)
Total £98,234

In respect of this proposal, it should be noted that there would be an adjustment to the monthly service charges in respect of the four locations where we have been paying for the spot enhancements. Below articulates the position in respect of the ongoing monthly cost:

Reduction in service payments in respect of four spot enhancement sites approx per annum £10,136 pa

Increase in service payments in respect of enhanced coverage at Fulford Road per annum
(£535.75 per month) £6429 pa
total reduction £3707pa

The cost of the total project over the 5 year period commencing 1st April 2014 would be as follows:

£28,886 capital outlay, offset against an annual saving of £3,707 (net) for service
payments (£18,535), therefore the net cost over the 5 -year period would be £10,351; a cost of approximately £2070 per annum over the 5-year period.

It should be noted that the 2013/14 financial year has not been included in these calculations/figures as the works are currently unapproved. Additionally, it is not know when Airwave would be able to carry out these works and implement the solution, thus making it difficult to assess the financial impact for the 2013/14 financial year. If one was to assume that the solution could be in place within a six month period, then there would be additional revenue costs of £3,214.50 (£535.75 x 6 months). This would increase the total cost of the project up to 2019 by this amount.

The benefit of adopting Option 3 is that the organisation would establish the correct contractual position immediately, thus reducing the risk of confusion when the contract is due for renewal in 2019.

Matters for consideration

The organisation needs to consider the operation impact and associated risk of not provide full Airwave Radio coverage throughout the main Fulford Road police station building. It is the view of senior operational officers that this lack of provision is detrimental to the effective delivery of policing services in York, as they are unable to communicate with and contact officers if they are in certain areas of the main building on this site where the coverage isn’t currently provided.

It is accepted that there are some ‘spots’ within the building where there is radio coverage, but as people work and move throughout the building it is considered essential that they can be contacted and hear radio communications throughout the building; not relying on ‘pot luck’ that they are in a place where they have this facility. Currently officers are not contactable by radio or indeed cannot hear transmissions when in certain areas of the building.

The key impact on lack of radio coverage is more prominent in areas used by operational officers. In order to mitigate the risk of lack of radio coverage, officers have been instructed to route their radio communications via a desktop radio unit which provides a “gate way facility”. This is not sustainable in the long term as when officers do this they are not individually identifiable on the STORM command and control systems in the Force Control Room. On leaving the building officers then have to remember to reconfigure their radio to leave the “Gateway facility”. This clearly impacts on operational effectiveness as officers do not always remember to use the gateway facility or indeed remember to revert to the standard facility when leaving the building quickly to respond to immediate grade incidents. This in term impacts on their ability to maintain radio communication with the FCR and indeed to be identifiable.

The Automated switch board routes telephone calls through to officer’s radios. The lack of radio coverage within the building has been flagged by operational officers as impacting on their ability to receive calls. This is clearly having an impact on the quality of service that they are able to provide.

Other options considered, if any

Not applicable

Contribution to Police and Crime Plan outcomes

This proposal will contribute to the Police and Crime Plan goals, by ensuring that the officers working out of Fulford Road are contactable and better placed to Reduce Harm (Goal 1) and put People First (Goal 2). It will also ensure that the officers have the facilities they require in order to deliver services to the communities in the City of York and surrounding area, supporting Goal 4 (Fit for the Future)

Consultations carried out

There has been consultation with the Safer Neighbourhood Commanders for York and for the Hambleton and Richmondshire district. Additionally, there has been consultation with the Home Office, who have supported NYP in seeking a resolution to this issue with Airwave.

Financial Implications/Value for money

From the point of view of ongoing financial monitoring, it would be preferable to select either option 1 or option 3 and regularise the contractual position.

The financial impacts of options 2 and 3 are identical.

There is no specific provision in the MTFP for the capital cost of option 3 – £28,886.

The existing Revenue budget for 2013/14 onwards is £702k pa, which is based on the current annual spend plus an allowance for inflation. Option 1 would mean that this could be reduced by £10k pa. The projected ongoing revenue savings of £3,707pa from Option 3 mean that the existing revenue budgets could be reduced by £3.7k pa.

Legal Implications

Having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, the Force Solicitor & Head of Legal Services is satisfied that this report does not ask the PCC for North Yorkshire to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.

The Home Office have advised that although the change to service cover at Bedale, Leyburn, Stokesley and Great Ayton is ultimately a force decision on a menu item purchase, the Home Office are required to sign any change document prepared by Airwave.
There is still a tri-partite agreement between all Police forces, Home Office and Airwave to sign off any contractual changes. As this is a force decision and expenditure the Home
Office sign this as a contractual signatory only. This proposal does not actually alter any coverage provision to the force, it merely changes a contractual requirement from the force to one that has been delivered since the system went live.

Equality Implications

There are no equality or diversity issues arising from this proposal.

Tick to confirm statement
Director/Chief Officer ACC Spittal has reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities. Iain Spittal 1404
Legal Advice Legal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge. Simon Dennis 16/05/2013
Financial Advice The CC CFO has both been consulted on this proposal, for which budgetary provision already exists or is to be made in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice Jane Palmer 004364 10/04/2013
Equalities Advice An assessment has been made of the equality impact of this proposal. Either there is considered to be minimal impact or the impact is outlined in Part1 or Part2 of this Notice. Richard Anderson 0217
I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision Julie McMurray 6038 Date 14th May 2013
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