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It’s a Crime!

Lancashire Crime Scene Investigator Dies of Throat Cancer - Official (Known to be TETRA Handset User)

Victim is Understood to Have Considered TETRA Responsible

Why Are The Official ‘Facts’ So Inconsistent??

UPDATE 3/8/04

I posted this item about a year ago, and up until last week had heard no more on it. Then, just a few days ago another email came into my hands from a totally different source - a Police Inspector in Sussex associated with the Airwave Project there.

This officer’s email contained much information of considerable interest and significance, including a number of observations relating to this episode involving a CSI in Lancashire.

The following is an extract from the Inspector’s email:

“I have been in contact with Lancashire and confirmed that everybody there, both Police and support staff, do use TETRA. The issue around the scenes of crime officers related to a single incident when one member of staff received an electric shock when handling his radio with metallic powder (actually very fine iron filings) on his gloves. This has never been replicated, and I am told that nobody there ever actually refused to use a radio handset.

I have confirmed that the member of the team who had contracted throat cancer was indeed diagnosed with the condition before the inception of Airwave.

Regrettably he has since died.”

This extract raises more questions than it answers. First, we’re told that the CSI who died “was ... diagnosed with the condition before the inception of Airwave.” This clearly directly contradicts the information provided in a series of emails by my contact, another CSI with the same force. More than that, it’s difficult to see how that claim can be squared with the cutting from the Divisional Newsletter below. This carries the clear implication that the CSIs had been using TETRA for some time but that the cancer had only just been diagnosed and the CSI in question was only now undergoing “extensive surgery” - hardly a sign that it’d been known about for quite a while.

Second we’re told in the Divisional Newsletter - by the Chief Superintendent on the spot - that the issue was ’the explosive nature of the metallic powders that they use’ - again, in direct conflict with my contact’s account of the facts. The Inspector’s version, as well as informing us that these powders are actually iron filings - explosive? - corrects the account from the man on the spot, giving us the official line that it wasn’t explosions but electric shocks that the CSIs were bothered about. Through gloves. Gloves presumably made of latex or some plastic-based compound - not materials notable for their properties of conducting electric shocks.

Call me sceptical, but for me it just doesn’t wash. There seems to be far too much juggling around just to try and put a gap between two facts - the fact that the CSIs didn’t want to go on using TETRA and the fact that one of their number had contracted throat cancer. Even the Divisional Newsletter clearly acknowledges that these two facts were definitely linked in the minds of police officers and staff there - you don’t try to ’dispel a rumour’ that no-one is taking seriously (you don’t need to).

No, the emails from my CSI contact and the undisputed facts (as opposed to the attempted ‘explanations’) in the Divisional Newsletter form a far more coherent and consistent picture than the official sanitised version (or versions - take your pick). Add to that this observation in my contact’s closing paragraph and the whole can of worms DEMANDS a closer investigation:

“The organisation as a whole still has a stranglehold over its staff and it is near impossible to find out about others who are just as worried. My own boss doesn't like us to talk about it within the office - which is ludicrous really. ”

The fact is that someone has died - that has been officially confirmed. The circumstances surrounding that death are, to put it mildly, unusual. Serving police officers and support staff, and the public, have a right to know how and why this happened. The official ‘explanations’ are inadequate and inconsistent.

I would also like to know why my CSI contact, having indicated their intention (as a group) to take action, suddenly ceased communicating in a way that was totally out of character with previous correspondence - but totally in keeping with their observation quoted above.



Original Article, Posted Summer 2003

I offer, without any further comment of my own (I don’t think any is needed) extracts from emails received from one contact in Lancashire. The first is dated 7th April 2003, the last 1st May. The last I heard was that strong pressure was being put on this person and their colleagues not to talk about the situation - not even between themselves. Then (like many such contacts) the ’line’ suddenly went dead and I received no further replies to emails.


“I am a Crime Scene Examiner for Lancashire Police - who as you will know were the first to use tetra. We have been concerned about the health risks since implementation but getting anything done over it is extremely difficult ...”

“We believe we are even more vulnerable to the effects as we use our own vehicles and not police vehicles - no handsfree or external aerial. There are ... of us based in ..... and [all but one] of us are suffering from symptoms ranging from headaches/toothache/neuralgia to high blood pressure and even a cancerous tumour in the throat. ”

“It is the tumour which has finally been the last straw and today we have refused to use them in our vehicles and at scenes ( we use metallic fingerprint powders).“


“We are a group of people who love our job and we are not "trouble makers" - but we are genuine in our belief that these radios are killing us.“

“I have attached a page from our monthly divisional newsletter for your interest, with the relevant bit marked, regarding our use of the radios.”


[N.B. CSI = Crime Scene Investigator]