Police officers are being ordered to send texts rather than speak on their radios because of the sums charged by the firm that owns the police communications network.
While chief constables face unprecedented cutbacks, the company that operates the system on which all the emergency services communicate has seen a massive rise in profits. Last year Airwave Solutions’ profit margin outstripped even that of mobile-phone giant Vodafone.
Airwave’s pre-tax profit was £170 million, a 26 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. It represents an eye-watering return of 45 per cent on the company’s £380 million turnover.
The company’s charges are said to be putting a severe strain on police budgets. Officers in one rural force have been told that a penalty charge of up to £2 a second is imposed as soon as the number of calls they make goes over a pre-arranged limit.
According to Dorset Police Federation chairman Clive Chamberlain, the punitive levy has led to a series of cost-cutting measures. ‘Airwave is a very expensive system which was forced upon the police service by the Government,’ he said.
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Article courtesy dailymail.co.uk