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Emergencies: Mobile Phones

Question for Cabinet Office

UIN HL11641, tabled on 21 November 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Young of Cookham on 5 July (HL Deb, cols 766–70), what progress has been made in the introduction of mobile alert technology.

Answered on

4 December 2018

Cabinet Office is working with the Home Office and the police to explore the types of emergency where a national mobile alerting system can add value, beyond the mobile alerting schemes already in place in the UK. In order to inform any technical solution, these emergency scenarios will be explored in depth to establish where and when in the evolution of an incident a mobile alerting scheme offers the best opportunity to reduce harm to citizens.

Once we have fully assessed the need for an alerting scheme further work would be undertaken including exploring how situational awareness might be obtained, thresholds for activation and how the content of alert messages stands the best chance of eliciting helpful behaviours from the recipients. This is not without complexity since in terrorist-related incidents the protagonists will also receive the same message.

Additionally, a scheme used for major incidents stands the chance of being used infrequently. To ensure effectiveness, there will be a need for a carefully managed media campaigns.

Answered by

Cabinet Office