UK: Police officers sue force over ‘radio injuries’

From the Telegraph

By Nigel Bunyan
January 1, 2017

Police officers are preparing to sue their own force over a series of illnesses they claim were caused by the radio system they use while out on patrol.

The Lancashire Constabulary was the first in Britain to try out the Airwave network, designed specifically to hive longer range and more capacity to the emergency services and the military.

Nine years after its introduction scores of officers are claiming that radiation emissions from the system have caused them to suffer such ailments as nausea, headaches, stomach pains and skin rashes.

The local branch of the Police Federation has logged 176 individual complaints, and now senior officials at the police authority are seeking legal advice on how to deal with them.

They have already made budget changes to allow for “a contingent liability in respect of Airwave liability claims”.

Critics of the system say its suppliers – Motorola, who provide the handsets, and those who control the network – have made changes to prevent “audio anomalies”.

However, the Health and Safety Executive has investigated the controversy and declared that there is no link between the radio technology and the reported ailments.

Lancashire officers began to pilot the system in 2001. Since then the Government has spent £2.9 billion on introducing the system to all 53 forces in England, Scotland and Wales.

John O’Reilly, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, said: “When we first got it there were all sorts of problems, including breakdowns in communication and certain parts of the county being unreachable.

“But then most or all of the problems were ironed out over a period of time by improved technology.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police Authority said: “We have received a number of liability claims for injury allegedly resulting from the use of the Constabulary’s mobile communications equipment.

“This is an ongoing matter and the outcomes from the claims are not yet known.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/6920973/Police-officers-sue-force-over-radio-injuries.html

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