It is not often that Britain is truly in the vanguard of shifts in technology in the 21st century. Business and consumers seeking the shape of things to come have grown accustomed to looking west to Silicon Valley or east to South Korea and Japan.
If everything goes according to plan, however, there will be no such indignity for our police, paramedics and fire crews. They are in line, via the Government’s £1.2bn Emergency Service Network (ESN) scheme, to be the first in the world to replace their frontline radios with what will amount to an adapted smartphone.
ESN, ministers claim, will deliver the full benefits of the mobile internet to those battling to protect and save lives daily. It is envisaged police will be able to stream video of live to control rooms, paramedics will be able to relay critical data on patients to A&E departments and fire crews will be able to access building blueprints.