60 seconds with BAPCO's Ian Thompson
Written by: Land Mobile | Published:
Ian Thompson, chief executive of British APCO

Ian Thompson, chief executive of British APCO, talks to Land Mobile about his career in public safety communications

How do you spend most of your time at work?

It’s a mixture of sitting in front of a computer, making phone calls and travelling to meet people. No week is the same.

What’s the one gadget that you can’t live without?

I’m loath to say it, but my mobile phone. I was without it recently when it was being fixed and really noticed that it wasn’t there. Mind you, I bought a Google Home recently and it’s great, so maybe in a few months’ time my answer will be different.

Describe your most unforgettable project.

I was very fortunate to be a sector commander on two stages of the Tour de France when it came to Yorkshire in 2014. It was an intensive, fantastic two days – preceded by a year of planning.

What advice would you give to anyone starting their first job in public safety comms?

Don’t expect routine, and don’t do it just for a love of technology alone. Users will always find a different way to do things, so work with them, consult them and include them.

How has your role changed since you started working in the sector?

I started as a police officer in 1986, so it was analogue radios and green-screen computers for very limited tasks. In the control rooms we used pen and paper, and a map on the wall.

What do you do in your free time to relax?

I like to get out on two wheels. I’ve just had a great weekend with friends motorcycling around the Yorkshire Dales, the moors and along the coast. We had three dry, warm days and covered a few hundred happy miles.

Ian joined BAPCO in 2016 as operations manager after retiring from a successful 30-year career in the police. His last role with the police service was as the operational lead on three major comms projects, including the introduction of the Emergency Services Network.

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