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Andrew Trotter (QPM, Deputy Chief Constable, British Transport Police): A lot of nodding perhaps where money is concerned.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): It does not show up in a recording.
Richard Barnes (Chair): Are you funded separately for this training, or does it come out of your standard precept?
Andrew Trotter (QPM, Deputy Chief Constable, British Transport Police): Not only the funding for what comes ahead, for what we call the ‘new normality’, but the funding for what happened is obviously still an issue to be resolved.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): Indeed, we are well aware of that.
Andrew Trotter (QPM, Deputy Chief Constable, British Transport Police): That ‘new normality’ will require a different level of investment. This will not be a return to what we did before; this has to be different, and that will have to be funded accordingly, otherwise other services will suffer and we do not want that. Most certainly this will be something that is clearly on our agenda.
Chris Allison (Commander, Metropolitan Police Service): I think the importance, certainly for me as one of the individuals who has been publicly quoted on this before – the multi-agency training, where we all knew each other, so it was friends in the room – the value of that so that we all knew the plan and knew each other and had trust and confidence, I do think can be underestimated.
Richard Barnes (Chair): How often do you do that? The blue light services are certainly constantly in touch with each, almost on a daily basis.
Dick Fedorcio (Director of Public Affairs, Metropolitan Police Service): As an example, from a communications perspective, my team had had two exercises this year before 7 July.
Chris Allison (Commander, Metropolitan Police Service): The Public Order Branch from New Scotland Yard arranges three or four weekends a year where it gets together multi-agency partners, not just blue light services but other agencies as well, together with senior police officers, who would potentially be managing these incidents and runs them through so that they get given a scenario. So you have those sort of weekend's worth of paper exercises, as well as sometimes the fuller scale exercises we have. Operation Osiris is one example where we did the test at Bank, and obviously Operation Atlantic Blue that Mr (Alan) Brown was talking about earlier on in the year. It is part of an agreed programme, but as Mr (Andrew) Trotter says, it does need funding, because I think it is at the heart of our success on 7 July.
Ron Dobson (Assistant Commissioner, Service Delivery, London Fire Brigade): I would echo that. As I said at the beginning of the meeting, the response on 7 July was really entirely due to the exercise in training and planning that has taken place over quite a long period of time, but that does cost money and people’s time to commit to doing that. We are not complacent and want to continue with that but it does need to be funded, and it would be wrong of me to close without saying that we mentioned the FRUs earlier on, and as Andy Trotter has said, there are funding issues arising from this in order to make sure that we can continue to respond in the way that we did, or indeed to build upon our response on 7 July. It does need to be funded.
Alex Robertson (Chief Superintendent, City of London Police): I think it is also important to add that there are police officers working with businesses in developing their own continuity plans and giving them some understanding of what the emergency services are going to be doing in an event like 7 July, so they know who to contact, or they can put in their own contingencies without having to wait to be asked or asking us what to do. That level of education is going on all the time and has speeded up as well since 7 July, which helps
Richard Barnes (Chair): Is that outside the City as well as inside the City?
Alex Robertson (Chief Superintendent, City of London Police): It happens across London.
Russell Smith (Deputy Director of Operations, London Ambulance Service): The considerable success of 7 July was about preparation, practice, relationships and professionalism and those four have brought the best results for Londoners.
Peter Hendy (Managing Director, Surface Transport, TfL): We will obviously carry on. Both Tim’s (O’Toole) people and my people have been party to all these big exercises and clearly they were very useful. It is part of the ordinary operational goings-on in the business and we will carry on doing it.
Tim O’Toole (Managing Director, London Underground): I do not think I can add much to that. As you know, from the exercise they have talked about, we are kind of a favourite location and our staff are better practised in this. We run individual exercises on the Underground alone on a regular basis, and as I have pointed out in other contexts, just some two and half weeks prior to 7 July, we ran such an exercise at Tower Hill just around the corner from the actual site. It is only by taking your staff through that, that you can be so impressed by what they do. I have said it in another place. I think the big lesson for us is to invest in your staff, rely on them; invest in technology and do not rely on it.
Richard Barnes (Chair): I saw an American lady interviewed at Tavistock Square, and she said that she was just amazed at the reaction of the Brits around and about. The police did not scream, which I gather she would have expected in New York, but she also said that everybody seemed to know what to do. She was prevented from going towards the bus because of potential secondary explosions. I think you should all be utterly and totally congratulated because not only did everybody seem to know what to do, but everybody did it beyond and above the call of duty.
Thank you very much indeed for coming in this morning.
7 July Review Committee
1 December 2005 BT
Mark Hughes, Group Security Director
David Corry, Head of BT Obligations and Emergency Planning Policy
David Sutton, Network Continuity and Restoration Manager
Richard Bobbett, Director of Network Operations, O2 Airwave
Michael Stefford, Head of Technology Policy, Security and Assurance
Anne-Marie Molloy, Head of Business Continuity
Cable & Wireless
Keith Wallis, Business Continuity Manager
Metropolitan Police Service
London Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive
Richard Barnes (Chair): Have you been sent copies of transcripts of our previous meetings so that you know where we are coming from this afternoon? Clearly, telecommunications was identified as a major issue, not just within the emergency services’ response but also for Londoners as a whole. Most of us experienced an inability for a period to get onto the mobile network. Some of us experienced an inability to get onto the landline system across London. Can one of you explain to us what the capacity of the system is? Is it measured? Did we come to capacity on 7 July? What was actually happening on the day?
Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): Firstly, I am from BT so I can comment from a BT perspective but each of us individually has to comment on our networks.
Richard Barnes (Chair): I recognise that you can only speak for your own networks.
Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): Clearly, we experienced an abnormal load on the network during the events of 7 July, especially in the morning and it was obviously a big issue in terms of how the network normally would operate on any one day. We experienced a loading of about twice that we would normally expect on our network, given a normal Thursday morning.
Richard Barnes (Chair): What does that mean?
Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): In terms of the amount of traffic that was being placed onto our network. In terms of how that compares, to draw just a few analogies, we do experience peaks of traffic on our network for all sorts of reasons throughout the year. More often than not, they are planned and clearly this was unplanned for obvious reasons. An example would be on New Year’s Eve. There is a huge amount of traffic that is placed on our network, which usually results in about a four times of normal traffic on any midnight period. I thought I would just mention that to give you an idea of the amount of capacity in terms of the amount of traffic that was put onto our network. It was twice that which we would normally expect on the network.
Richard Barnes (Chair): Do you measure that in a number so that we can actually understand that?
Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): We do have our numbers of calls that we can actually measure and we actually know how many calls. There was clearly an abnormal loading on the network, which was about twice that we would normally expect and as that happens – and it is the same really for all network operators – there are proactive measures which are taken to manage increased traffic on the network. I think you will see on your notes the one that is referred to as ‘call gapping’. That is how these increased spikes of traffic are managed proactively on the network. That call gapping is employed quite a lot to manage capacity in the network and how the network is affected.
Richard Barnes (Chair): Someone will have to tell us what call gapping is. David Corry (Head of Obligations and Emergency Planning Policy, BT): I think the analogy is air traffic control. Before a plane takes off, it has to have somewhere to land. What we do is, where we have congestion on the network, we will actually stop some of those calls going into the network and we will issue an announcement saying, ‘The network is busy.’ Basically, that is it. Some of the calls before they get into the network will be stopped at the local telephone exchange.
Richard Barnes (Chair): So, as you are ringing, you will get this recorded message?
Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): The principle being that you want some calls to get through as opposed to no calls to get through. I think I have heard it also described as the reaction to for example an accident on a motorway, if you want to use the analogy, which is that you want at least the one lane to be open to allow some traffic to get through so that at least some traffic can continue on its way as opposed to just closing the motorway down completely because it is just simply overloaded.
Richard Barnes (Chair): So, you can actually put in this interruption – I am sure we have all experienced it at some stage – ‘the network is busy, please try again later’ – that type of message. You can actually interrupt the system and say this is what going to happen or does that happen automatically?
David Corry (Head of Obligations and Emergency Planning Policy, BT): Well, the network itself does that but where you get an overload situation like New Year’s Day or 7 July, we would actually put that in place. That would be done as part of the committee-agreed response, which is basically the national emergency alert for telecoms. It is a group of all operators sitting around saying, ‘What do we need to do to the network to keep the system running?’ That is what we did on 7 July.
Richard Barnes (Chair): That is what you did on 7 July?
David Corry (Head of Obligations and Emergency Planning Policy, BT): Yes.
Richard Barnes (Chair): So, was call gapping introduced?
David Corry (Head of Obligations and Emergency Planning Policy, BT): Yes.
Richard Barnes (Chair): It was? Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): On a certain range of numbers and those specifically were the 07 range of numbers – so the mobile range of numbers – and also from international numbers at the distant end, where we were requested. Again, international numbers which were being directed at mobile – the 07 range – that was instigated as well. There was no call gapping instigated on the 020 8 or the 020 7 range because there was not an issue there.
Richard Barnes (Chair): So, that is landline to mobile or mobile to landline?
Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): It was to mobile that the call gapping was put on. Perhaps, I do not know, would you like to comment on gapping on the mobile networks?
Richard Barnes (Chair): Does that apply to Vodafone and O2 as well?
Michael Strefford (Head of Technology Policy, Security and Assurance, Vodafone): I am representing Vodafone. From the perspective of Vodafone, yes we both can apply call gapping in exactly the same way as has been described by BT and on 7 July, we did put some levels of call gapping on and, as was mentioned before, we were involved in a proactive discussion pretty much throughout the day from about
10.30 or 11.00 in the morning about all the networks and what we were doing to help each other basically in terms of managing the network load. To give you a picture from the Vodafone perspective, in terms of our normal traffic levels, we were running at about a 250% increase over a normal Thursday morning in terms of our traffic: so, three and a half times the volume of traffic on the mobile network within London that we would normally expect to see and roughly a doubling in terms of the text messages that were being sent.
Darren Johnson (AM): Do you have to cope with that for other events at other times of the year?
Michael Strefford (Head of Technology Policy, Security and Assurance, Vodafone): We have never, ever …
Darren Johnson (AM): You have never had to deal with an increase of this nature before?
Michael Strefford (Head of Technology Policy, Security and Assurance, Vodafone): We have never seen that volume of traffic for any event.
Joanne McCartney (AM): Is there a difference between making a physical call and texting? Do you have to do the same mechanisms for texting or can you always get through on a text?
Michael Strefford (Head of Technology Policy, Security and Assurance, Vodafone): The mechanisms are similar. Originating and sending a text is somewhat
less resource-intensive on the network. There is no voice involved and carrying voice is
the resource-prohibitive part of any form of telephony, whether it be fixed or mobile.
Yes, texts are in that kind of situation somewhat more successful in terms of being able
to get them delivered into the network and then onward delivered out of the network.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): While we are on the different methods, can anyone
tell me about emails and whether they are affected in the same sort of way?
Michael Strefford (Head of Technology Policy, Security and Assurance,
Vodafone): From a mobile perspective, that would depend upon how you were
choosing to deliver those emails. If you were delivering them from your mobile phone,
as a lot of mobile phones now allow you to do, then yes, they would have been affected
by the congestion that was generally being seen in the mobile network. From a fixed,
Internet Service Provider (ISP) perspective…
Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): We did not see any. There was no
particular issue around Internet traffic as such.
Sally Hamwee (Deputy Chair): In this building, we were asked during the afternoon
not to send emails unless absolutely necessary.
Mark Hughes (Group Security Director, BT): The actual transmission network in
terms of email performed fine. It is more to do with the amount of capacity in
individual premises, in terms of how the emails were handled. I could imagine that is
why that message was put out, but I cannot be definite.
Peter Hulme Cross (AM): Is this at all technology-dependent because, well, you have
the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) for mobile phones or you used to.
You have General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). You have third generation (3G)
technology. Not everybody has 3G. That is relatively rare at the moment, so does it
depend on the type of mobile phone that people have got as to whether they
experienced problems or not or is it across the board?
Michael Strefford (Head of Technology Policy, Security and Assurance,
Абдурахманов М. И., Баришполец В. А., Манилов В. Л., Пирумов В. С. Геополитика и национальная безопасность. Словарь основных терминов...
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