Limerick gardaí switch to hi-tech radio system

GARDAÍ in Limerick yesterday began using a hi-tech radio system which will prevent criminals monitoring their movements by using radio scanners.

The new Tetra radio hand set now carried by each garda while on the beat, is security proof and cannot be intercepted by scanners used by criminals and radio ‘buffs’.

The system has been up and running in Dublin but Limerick is the first Garda division outside of the capital to use the service.

Tetra also enables a garda under attack or disabled to press a red alert button for immediate assistance and the handset will enable his location to be pinpointed by the operations centre at Henry Street Garda Station. The Tetra handsets can also double as mobile phones.

Supt Frank O’Brien said: “Security of our communications system is critical and the safeguarding of information being transmitted by members of the Garda. As well as each garda having a Tetra unit, the system has also been installed in all our patrol cars and vehicles. From an operational point of view it will mean that we can be much more professional in the way we operate. Tetra also gives us universal coverage as we have found that it operates in mobile phone blackspots.”

Supt O’Brien said the system will give greater reassurance to the public about the confidentiality of information being transmitted on the Garda radio network, which cannot be intercepted.

He said the confidence of the community was paramount and the new Tetra radio system would help strengthen this confidence as people will know that information transmitted by the Gardaí cannot be intercepted.

“This is cutting edge and top of the range and advances our capability greatly,” he said. Sgt JohnDelaney, who heads the Limerick Garda divisional communication unit, said that Tetra is impenetrable by outside sources.

“And if a Tetra set is lost it can be ‘stunned’ immediately,” he said.

The Tetra system is supplied by Aircom, Motorola and Sigma.

After weeks of testing,Tetra went ‘live’ in the Limerick Garda division at 6am yesterday, when all operational members of the force, who number more than 600 in the division, were supplied with their handsets.


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