Rail firms trade mobile phones for Airwave

Southeastern and South West Trains have signed on with emergency service radio network Airwave.

The deal will mean the rail firms' security personnel will be able to stop using mobile phones for communications when out in the field on patrol a problem because of inconsistent coverage.

The Airwave service will also connect railway security officers with the British Transport Police.

Southeastern's head of crime and security, Paul Nicholas, previously worked for the BTP. He said the difference between the the police system and the mobile-based one at Southeastern made it clear that a new way needed to be found. "Now, being able to communicate on Airwave's network allows us to increase both employee and customer safety whilst improving our ability to deal with the small minority of passengers that try and disrupt our train service."

Southeastern has already rolled out the service, with 70 of its officers given Airwave devices. South West's implementation should be finished in September.

South West Train's head of security and crime prevention, Stuart Giddings, said: "It was encouraging to see the success of Southeastern's project and deploying Airwave's network makes complete operational sense to us."

Airwave has also signed contracts with HMRC, and has helped sort out radios to use underground handy for the BTP when operating within the London tube network.