HMRC and Airware in a £60m deal

HM Revenue and Customs and Airwave have signed a deal worth an average £4 million over a period of 15 years to allow its Criminal Investigation and Detection teams to use the emergency services' digital communications channel.

The new comms system will provide a control room capable of handling 4000 new connections and the encrypted network will mean that third parties will not be able to eavesdrop or hack into the data conduit.

The HMRC Project Manager, Stephen Walton, said that although security is an essential criteria for selecting the appropriate network, the organisation took into consideration the fact that Airwave's network has a 99 percent coverage and is used by other public organisations like the Police and some emergency agencies.

The HMRC originally considered upgrading its own analogue system but this proved to be too costly.