C2000 communication system endangers police and citizens, says Labor Inspectorate
The police's internal communication system C2000 is not working properly, putting the safety of officers and citizens at risk. The police are thus breaking the law. That is the conclusion of the Dutch Labor Inspectorate, NOS reported on Thursday.
C2000 is the communication system used by the emergency services and parts of the Ministry of Defense. It is used for communication among the police, fire brigade, and ambulance services.
For years, police unions have expressed serious concerns about the C2000 communication system. They believe that the system frequently malfunctions or works inadequately, leading to unsafe situations for officers and citizens. Recently, during a police chase in Rijsbergen in Noord-Brabant, communication problems further highlighted these concerns, prompting the police unions to complain to the Labor Inspectorate.
According to a designation of the Labor Inspectorate obtained by NOS, the C2000 communication system lacks coverage inside buildings and has 107 "problem areas" with insufficient radio coverage outside. As a result, certain areas in the Netherlands have no communication with the C2000 system for police employees, posing a safety risk during crisis situations. Additionally, in crisis situations, there is a high probability of overloading the communication network due to excessive usage or improper use of the system, the Labor Inspectorate concluded.
The Inspectorate identified another issue: officers do not receive adequate instruction and information regarding the proper usage of the C2000 communication system.
According to the Inspectorate, the C2000's malfunctioning coverage and insufficient training on its usage violate the Dutch Working Conditions Act (Arbeidsomstandighedenwet). The police cannot contest this judgment, but they have two weeks to provide their “viewpoint.” Once submitted, the inspectorate's judgment becomes final. The police then have six months to improve C2000 coverage and three months to enhance officers' knowledge of its usage.
The police union ACP expressed delight at the judgment. "For us, this is a formal confirmation that there are serious problems with C2000, something we have been warning about for years," said Ramon Meijerink, trade union adviser at ACP. "The police must now work very seriously and with appropriate urgency to improve C2000."
In a response, the police force management emphasized that they do not solely rely on C2000 for security. "It is a means of communication, no more and no less," said a spokesperson, who reported that the C2000 functions in 97 percent of cases, meeting the system's requirements but not some colleagues' high expectations, which the police consider to be too demanding.
The Labor Inspectorate also noted in the designation that the alternative, the "Push to Talk system," which is an app on the phone enabling officer-to-officer communication, is not deemed suitable.
Three Dutch researchers recently discovered that TETRA, the radio technology used for the C2000, could easily be hacked to cause massive damage.