Challenge: To replace ageing analogue radios with digital handsets, offering long-term compatibility with the new C2000 nationwide emergency services digital radio network, based on the European TETRA standard.
Solution: To equip the entire force with digital TETRA radio terminals from Sepura, supporting the organisation's varied responsibilities, which include policing Schiphol Airport.
Results: Enhanced multi-disciplinary communications has enabled improved inter-operability between the Dutch Royal Military Police and other emergency services operating across the Netherlands.
The Dutch Royal Military Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee or KMar) is a police organisation with military status and wide-ranging responsibilities. These extend from protecting the country's national borders, to guarding royal palaces and the Dutch Prime Minister's residence. An elite force of specially trained and selected military personnel, the KMar acts as bodyguard for Dutch VIPs as well as a police SWAT team. Policing civilian airports is another of the force's vital and highly visible responsibilities and includes Schiphol International Airport, located near Amsterdam, which is currently ranked 4th in Europe in terms of passenger traffic. Since 2002, KMar has been using Sepura TETRA handheld terminals, deploying them through a series of phased roll-out projects.
Initiating secure and effective mobile communications
Airports are among the most complex communications environments in the world. Schiphol is one of Europe's busiest international airports and the successful policing of it demands dependable, crystal clear voice communications in an environment where there is a high level of background noise. If there's a fire, medical crisis, terrorist threat or other emergency, KMar's response must be both fast and effective. In 2002, KMar was making preparations to replace its aging analogue radios and equip personnel based at Schiphol airport with new TETRA-based handheld radios. As well as containing extensive voice and data functionality, these handsets had to offer full integration and operability with C2000, the secure nationwide communications network for the emergency services that was being introduced at that time. "We needed a handset durable enough to operate in demanding airport environments, that was user friendly, and that could co-function with the national emergency network," confirms Colonel A.A.M. Struijk MIM, Chief Information Officer for Koninklijke Marechaussee. The Sepura SRP2000 hand-helds met all these criteria". The light-weight, compact Sepura radios proved ideal for the tough operating conditions of Schiphol Airport. Highly reliable and robust, they enable officers to communicate within pre-determined user groups, liaise with central control teams, receive data directly through their terminals-even when on the move-and inter-operate with emergency services located at the airport or in the vicinity. When the roll out was complete, KMar had implemented 800 Sepura terminals to support its activities at the airport.
A powerful solution with long-term durability
Long-term compatibility with the C2000 network, as it evolved, was a key requirement for KMar. As the functionality on the network expanded, Sepura implemented software upgrades and new features that have enabled KMar to take advantage of the expanding functionality on the network. "The purpose of the investment was to ensure that KMar would continue to realise the potential of the government's C2000 network for post-disaster co-ordination and communication with other emergency services," says Colonel A.A.M. Struijk MIM. "It would also enable us to take advantage of new TETRA-enabled functionality, which could be tailored to the specific requirements of our individual operating units." Selecting the best possible equipment for its officers was a major consideration in the decision to commit to Sepura's TETRA enabled solutions. KMar wanted to be able to take advantage of future terminal and network features. In 2004 KMar began its nationwide implementation of Sepura's TETRA radios across all operational divisions. The flexibility of Sepura's solutions enables full integration with new in-field applications for mobile communications, including data applications, which give officers access to operational applications. Today, over 4,000 Sepura terminals have been deployed across the KMar police force. "Sepura has demonstrated a deep understanding of the varied and specialist needs of a police force. Working together, we've been able to make sure officers can operate effectively, covering a wide variety of responsibilities," says Colonel A.A.M. Struijk MIM. "We can take advantage of cutting-edge communications technology in our day-to-day undertakings and liaise effectively with other police forces and emergency services through the C2000 integrated digital network."