The London Borough of Croydon is currently going through a major regeneration project under the banner 'Croydon Vision 2020', which is predicted to attract more businesses and tourists to the area. A number of projects have been identified to support this transformation and address key social and economic issues in the area. One of these is the recent upgrade of a borough-wide digital radio communications network.
The London Borough of Croydon, UK
PD78XG Portable Radio
X1p Portable Radio
MD78XG Mobile Radio
With over 10,500 staff, Croydon council is dependent on communications support to help manage its diverse and disparate portfolio of parks, public facilities, roads and social services.
Before the upgrade project began nearly two years ago, the council operated an analogue MPT1327 trunked system. Radio users often found voice transmissions failed and the trunked system was complicated and complex to use, and unwieldy to maintain.
Following discussions with Chatterbox Ltd, the local dealer of Hytera, the council selected 250 Hytera PD78XG, 10 Hytera X1p and 6 Hytera MD78XG. In addition, 8 Hytera RD98X VHF repeater base stations were installed across two sites to deliver reliable and extended coverage via microwave links and ADSL.
Control room resilience
At the new control room, the council has deployed Hytera dispatcher system as part of the Chatterbox Alarm Location Monitoring (CALM) solution with feature-rich data services including GPS tracking, lone worker, man down, emergency alarm monitoring and voice recording.
The use of wireless links, with ADSL backup to provide a secure and safe network, overcomes these issues. With the support of microwave links, radios automatically roam picking up the strongest signal so if one access point is lost, the system can switch over to the other to ensure contact with the control room is maintained.
Safe and secure
In addition to conventional communication services, PD78XG features rich data services and selectable functions such as message, scan, emergency, man down, and lone worker. The built-in GPS function can be monitored by managers via a smartphone app, who can check the GPS on their phones or tablets instead of being physically present on the CCTV control room, to see where individual radios are.
The ability to un-mute the mic of a remote subscriber radio can monitor voice activities remotely without pushing the PTT button. In emergencies where two-way communication is difficult officers can press the panic button on their radios. The control room can open radio communication to hear what's happening and react accordingly.
Safer Croydon Radio
In addition to the VHF upgrade, other base stations are also supporting the council rollout of its Safer Croydon Radio (SCR) scheme to encourage more retailers to join it, widening the support and protection of the system. SCR members use the radios to circulate descriptions of suspects and share information with other businesses in the area. The radios transmit to all the shops that belong to SCR and control room at the same time. The capability to have a private channel for communications to the control room also gives some users greater trust in the system as they can have confidential talks just with the control room. Conversely, other members welcome the ability to have a clear, audible two-way conversation as it acts a deterrent for shoplifters.