Violence at Work (UK)

Personal Radios

Walkie/ talkie type personal radios (PRs) enable staff to keep in close communication with each other; and properly used and maintained they can be a significant help in reducing the risks of violence. But, like anything, personal radios have some drawbacks / difficulties.


PR Users should be aware:

1. Over reliance on the equipment to work in emergency situations can result in staff over committing themselves where they might otherwise have chosen to delay acting until the arrival on scene of sufficient support. (Staff should always ensure that the radio they have been issued with is in good working order and check transmission and reception quality with their Radio Control several times during a tour of duty.)

2. Radio "black-spots" may exist in the workplace where signals cannot be received or transmitted. (e.g. basements, lifts) - Staff need to be fully aware of where these places are. Management must consider whether the situation warrants improvement by the installers

3. People tend to raise their voices excessively and speak too quickly when transmitting in an emergency. This can affect the clarity of the message. Staff should be acutely aware of the need to speak calmly and coherently in a crisis - and to state their location first!

4.During volatile /noisy encounters it can be difficult to hear messages. Trying too hard to hear what is being said on the radio can impair concentration on the threat present and it can also give the wrong impression to the other person.

5. High volume "active" sounding transmissions can result in increasing tension at the scene - and elsewhere - and attract a crowd of onlookers.

6. Only one person at a time can transmit. (Staff need to know not to keep the transmit button pressed down for longer than a few seconds at a time - so as to facilitate an 'urgent' interruption.)

7. Use of radios needs to be disciplined. Indiscriminate use of the transmission facility can lead to it becoming clogged with non essential communication, impairing it's availability for emergency messages.

8. Hand held radios can appear aggressive to third parties. This is because they can easily be used as a weapon of offence. Staff should be aware of this and try not to wave them about.

9 . Radios are an encumbrance in the event of physical intervention - which would generally require both hands to be free.

10. Determination to hold on to radios if a scuffle starts can leave staff disadvantaged and vulnerable to assaults. Conversely, the ready availability of a personal radio to be used as a weapon may all too easily in a crisis result in a disproportionate use of force which might otherwise have been avoided.


Summoning Assistance by Personal Radio

In an emergency, the location the help is required is the most important aspect of the message and it should be given out first. Broadcasting the location will provide support staff with an idea of where help is needed in case you can't transmit again. ( Don't worry, the message will sound urgent!)

This means radio users need to be able to at any moment describe accurately where they are. In unfamiliar territory this can be a major problem and something that needs to be taken seriously.


A 'Sectorised' Workplace

Mapping and "sectorising" the workplace will help employeees give an accurate location quickly in a crisis.

It can also be helpful to code name the various sectors (so that the locations are not disclosed to third parties during broadcasting) - but only if the staff have taken the time and trouble to learn them!


Coded Radio 'Language'

Using coded language to pass information can really help to keep unhelpful emotive speech off the air - and help to avoid embarrassment and emotional responses in people overhearing the messages.

For example:'Can you ask Mr. Robinson to join us' as a code for "Get the Police Urgently".

N.B. All personal radio users should all be familiar with their organisation's Code Phrases (which should be incapable of misinterpretation or of being used in any other context) and know how to respond to them.


Communicating on the radio

Regional accents (amongst other things) can mean that some parts of a radio message may be unclear to the recipient. To help avoid confusion and misunderstandings, our Emergency Services have developed a way of pronouncing numerals and letters. They are reproduced below.


The Phonetic Alphabet

A = Alpha

B = Bravo

C = Charlie

D = Delta

E = Echo

F = Foxtrot

G = Golf

H = Hotel

I = India

J = Juliet

K = Kilo

L = Lima

M = Mike

N = November

O = Oscar

P = Papa

Q = Quebec

R = Romeo

S = Sierra

T = Tango

U = Uniform

V = Victor

W = Whiskey

X = X-Ray

Y = Yankee

Z = Zulu


Phonetic Numbers

Numbers which need to be transmitted by personal radio should be pronounced as :

0 = Zero

1 = Wun

2 = Too

3 = Thuh-ree

4 = Fo-wer

5 = Fife

6 = Six

7 = Sefen

8 = Ate

9 = Niner

100 = Wun Hundred

1000 = Wun Thow-zand

A decimal point is spoken as 'Day-See-Mal'.



44 = Fo-wer Fo-wer

90 = Niner Zero

136 = Wun Thuh-ree Six

500 = Fife Hundred

7000 = Sefen Thow-zand

16000 = Wun Six Thow-zand


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