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    Police mast damage investigated

    Police mast damage investigated

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    June 26, 2003

    Controversial police communication equipment has been vandalised hours after being airlifted into a Gower village.

    Scores of residents in Llangennith demonstrated as the Tetra mast was flown in by helicopter on Wednesday.

    Overnight the equipment was deliberately damaged sparking a police investigation.

    Residents say they have health fears about the new Tetra system which will be used by police forces across the country.

    Police in Swansea are currently investigating after the equipment was vandalised but they have condemned the attack on the mast.

    “Feelings are running very high and I am not totally surprised this has been done,” said one.

    “But the protests have been peaceful and it is sad someone has taken this action.”

    Air Wave MMO2 Ltd, which is providing the system, successfully appealed to the Welsh assembly to site the mast at Llangennith after being initially refused planning permission by Swansea council.

    Councillors turned down similar applications for two other sites on Gower earlier this week but again the final decision will rest with the assembly.

    The company says the masts are vital to ensure police have full communications coverage of the peninsula in case of emergencies.

    Although hailed as cutting-edge technology, some experts have raised health concerns about the new transmitters the radio system requires.

    Tetra masts pulse at 17.6Hz which is very close to the 16Hz frequency the government’s Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones warns might affect brain activity.

    During Wednesday’s protest one woman was injured when grit flew into her eye as the helicopter landed.

    One man was arrested and later released without charge as the police presence ensured the protest passed off peacefully.

    Residents had to stand behind a fence and watch as the mast was lowered onto private land.

    One woman who was present said: “I think they used a helicopter because they were afraid people would block the roads.

    “There were just a few dozen people to begin with but I would say there was almost 200 at the end as word got around and people arrived home from work.

    “We are still angry about this – no one really knows what the health risks are.”

    Another campaigner said: “This isn’t an issue about Llangennith, or Gower or even Wales but an issue that affects the whole of the UK.”

    A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “Police in Swansea are currently investigating after the equipment was vandalised.”
    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2003/06/26 16:52:02 GMT

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