Airwave issue and functionality

Dated: 26 Oct 2018

POLICY TITLE: Airwave Issue and Functionality 

OWNING DIRECTORATE: Finance & Resources 

AUTHOR: ICT Communications Manager 


EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT: Complete (Airwave Overarching EIA)


AIM OF POLICY: To describe the use of telephony, point to point and text messaging functionality within the Airwave service.  

BENEFIT OF POLICY: To maintain operational effectiveness when using the Airwave service.   

REASON FOR POLICY: To ensure that all users understand the Airwave functionality.  


The Airwave service provides telephony text messaging and 'point to point' functionality on all terminals ('point to point' is a private radio call between two individuals). 

The following members of Northumbria Police will be allocated handheld terminals on a 'personal issue' basis: 

  • All operational police officers in each Area Command. 
  • All operational police officers in Crime Department. 
  • All operational police officers in the Force Resilience Unit. 
  • All operational Police Community Support Officers. 
  • On-call staff from Headquarters. 
  • Further selected members of police staff. 

All Airwave terminals, both vehicle and hand-held sets, are programmed to allow all users to access full telephony functionality and therefore maintain operational effectiveness. The preset maximum is limited to 150 minutes per user per month for outgoing calls. This limit can be extended if there is an operational imperative. There is currently no limit for text messaging. 

Incoming calls and text messages to Airwave terminals will only be allowed from within the Force Network.  Incoming calls to Airwave terminals from the public telephone network, or other mobile phone networks will not be allowed.  

'Point to point' functionality will be used as the preferred method of contact between two individual terminal users. Both telephony, text messaging and 'point to point' functionality will be used for official police purposes and only in exceptional circumstances for private or personal reasons. Private phone calls should not be made via Airwave.  

Sensitive information categorised as above 'OFFICIAL- SENSITIVE' will not be sent via the text messaging facility.  

The use of telephony, text messaging and 'point to point' functionality will be subject to constant monitoring by area commanders and heads of department to prevent abuse of the system and to ensure it is working effectively. 

Supervisors will inspect text messages stored within the Integrated Communications Control System (ICCS) equipment or individual radio terminals where there is a clear business requirement and where the benefits are in proportion to adverse impacts. 


SOURCE DOCUMENT: Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights  Act 1998.  

GROUPS AFFECTED: All Airwave Users 


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