An unprecedented number of public safety organisations used the Airwave Service during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations setting a new record for the number of users communicating on the same platform in one location.
The four days of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations saw 167 organisations connected to the Airwave Network and of these, 74 represented individual bodies from the emergency services (police, fire and ambulance). These included services from Hampshire, Wales and the Home Counties in addition to those already based in London.
The remaining agencies using the Airwave Network were user groups from the Airwave Direct community (including the local authorities, coastal agencies and port authorities) who were also connected to the network in the London area.
According to John Lewis, chief operating officer, Airwave: ‘The Thames River Pageant saw the greatest network usage for the weekend, which recorded over a million push-to-talk (PTT) interactions on the network between 6am and 5:30pm. We also recorded over 11,100 connections to the network in London (135 sites) at 2pm, which is a 52% increase from the same day the previous month.
A total of 25,477 radio terminals were connected to the Airwave Network during the full 24 hour period on 3 June 2012. This compares with the 2011 Notting Hill Carnival, which had at its peak just under 5,000 users and last year’s Royal Wedding with 6,000 users.
It is estimated that a staggering 2.5 million people were in the capital over the Jubilee weekend, with over 6,000 police officers on duty. The Thames River Pageant drew a crowd of around one million spectators, with additional crowds gathered around the 50 large screen TVs and the Fortnum & Masons street party which took place between 11am and 5pm.
‘We knew that the weekend was going to be busy and anticipated increased usage on the Network. As with all large-scale events, planned or unplanned, we open a conference bridge to enable our customers to contact us directly, which is instrumental in the success for Airwave and our customers,’ added Lewis.
The Port of London Authority used the Airwave Service for the first time during the Jubilee celebrations. Commenting on their experience of the event Commander David Phillips, Chief Harbour Master, Port of London Authority said: ‘As the individual with overall responsibility for the safety of navigation on the 3 June, I would like to confirm what a valuable asset these [radios] turned out to be. The capacity of communication, securely, with my key commanders and the PLA’s ‘Gold’ officer at the Metropolitan Police Special Operations Room made a significant contribution to what is now widely acknowledged as a very successful pageant.’
He added: ‘It’s a great system and was vital for our successful control of the event.’