Airwavespeak is reversing decline in radio discipline

Perhaps I can enlighten you with the background to Airwavespeak (Personnel Today, 24 July).

Following the introduction of the Airwave digital radio system, it was quickly apparent that the increased voice quality did not encourage accuracy, clarity, brevity and discipline in police radio communications. The recognition that a national standard of police voice communications was needed led to the National Policing Improvement Agency forming the Airwavespeak Project.

A team of experienced police radio users from England, Wales and Scotland was appointed to the Airwavespeak Working Group. Police Federation and Unison members were represented on the group, which aimed to produce police radio guidance that was easy to understand, needed minimal training, and would improve police communications.

The group worked with linguistic experts from Cambridge University, and they examined regional police radio procedures. The phrase “Yes, Yes” is nationally recognised, and the group was keen to retain good practice.

The training package containing the key words and phrases to be adopted in the national standards has been enthusiastically received by police trainers who attended a series of regional workshops in preparation for the roll-out of Airwavespeak.

The work has the backing of the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.

A relaxation of police radio discipline is now being halted by readopting a formal style that has slipped in recent years. Airwave users can now communicate at local, cross-border and national level in a professional manner with radio standards that are consistent and concise.

This only leads to a greater degree of professionalism, which any reasonable person would welcome.

John Blakeman
Airwavespeak Working Group

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