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Directorate of Telecommunications


Wireless Telephony InstructionsFollowing the introduction of area wide VHF radio schemes from 1946 onwards for Police Forces in England and Wales, it was only a matter of time before Fire Brigades in the same regions required similar levels of wireless communication.

My understanding is that to facilitate this requirement, Fire Brigades co- shared Police Schemes in each area, either where the Brigade operator was co-sited with Police operators, or via a remote control extension to a nearby Fire Control Room.

During the 1960's as radio traffic increased and placed more demands on existing radio schemes, Fire Brigades were given their own block of radio spectrum and slowly phased across to independent schemes. I believe the last Fire Service to be moved off co-shared schemes was Cumbria during the early 70's.

If anyone has more detailed knowledge, please email the Webmaster and I will update this article accordingly.

To ensure maximum efficiency in the operation of single and shared wireless schemes, the Directorate published an A5 booklet in July 1950 which set out:

a) definite instructions to radio operators as to their duties.

b) control of all stations working in a scheme so as to prevent confusion and mutual interference.

c) provide a recognised message procedure in order to achieve the maximum speed without risk of ambiguity.

Many thanks to Denis Cannings for this little gem of a booklet which gives an interesting insight into Police and Fire radio operating procedures from the 1950's and onwards.

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RT Instructions (3.5Mb)

Intercom JournalsThese informative journals were produced by the Directorate from 1972 until 1979.

They provided staff, customers and other parties with an insight to what was being accomplished by the organisation, the direction that research was taking into new methods and techniques, and the scope and quality of the equipment which could be offered at the time by the British radio industry under operational conditions by the Home Office.

As far as I am aware, only thirteen were ever produced, but if anyone knows different, please let me know - ideally sending me a copy for inclusion on this page.

Download sizes vary between 8-22 Mb each and high quality as of 9 June 2015.

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January 1972June 1972March 1973November 1973June 1974January 1975September 1975June 1976June 1977December 1977April 1978December 1978December 1979 :  download files vary 8-22Mb

Link MagazinesThese newsletters were produced by the Directorate from August 1989 until February 1991 and were intended to keep everyone informed on how the business was developing, topics of interest and who the people were in HQ and the regions. I do not know the extent of distribution that took place outside of the organisation.

Unfortunately, I do not have Issue 7. If anyone has the missing copy could they please get in touch with me via the feedback route.

Directorate Link was then renamed DTELS Link and continued from April 1991 until December 1993.

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Directorate Link Magazines (9Mb)DTELS Link Magazines (9Mb)

For a period of more than forty years the Directorate had provided maintenance services to Police Forces and Fire Brigades almost on an exclusivity basis.  However, during the latter part of the 1980's the situation changed as government dictate required the organisation to compete directly with the private sector for this business.

To meet this new challenge the Directorate had to restructure its operation to run more akin to a commercial entity, which required amongst other factors, tighter financial control and better market visibility to demonstrate to customers that it was stronger than the private sector in respect of price, reliability and responsiveness.
DTELS Drinks Coaster
As part of the evolution process from the Directorate to DTELS and eventual privatisation the organisation recruited John Sharpley in 1989 to head the newly formed Marketing Team to provide a focussed approach to competitive tendering, company image and customer liaison.  Around the same time the team was expanded to include three new area marketing posts based at the Northern, Eastern and Western area offices and coming under the direction of the Head of Marketing. With some changes of personnel, the structure remained in place until the privatisation in 1994.

Coinciding with the launch of DTELS a number of marketing promotional products were introduced including drinks mats such as this one.


  • DTELS Launch PackDTELS Launch Pack: on 12th April 1991, the organisation changed it's name to DTELS and an official launch was held at the Sedgwick Centre in London during which information packs were given to customers and staff outlining the business and products.  The eight page packs also included leaflets retained in a wallet on the rear inside page and a copy of a letter from the Director circulated to DTELS staff in the same month outlining the reasons for the name change and the process to be adopted thereafter.

    update 26th May 2007
    Two letters from the Head of Marketing, George Davis, dated 27th March and 8th April 1991, detailing the arrangements for the DTELS launch at the Sedgwick Centre.

    Bryn Oliver for the two letters circulated by George Davis in 1991.  Copyright is Crown.

  • DTELS Engineering Consultancy Brochure 1991DTELS Engineering Consultancy: describing the various DTELS engineering consultancy services, which I think was produced in 1991.  Although perhaps lacking in flair compared to publicity material published by other telecommunications companies at that time, the brochure briefly sets out the broad range of services that DTELS Consultancy offered.

    I believe the origins of Engineering Consultancy came about following the decision in the 1980's that the Directorate was to become a trading company. Engineering staff associated with 'core' services, such as Frequency Management, were transferred to another Home Office department called Radio Frequency and Communications Planning Unit (RFCPU) prior to the formation of DTELS in 1991. The remaining staff associated with 'non-core' services came under the umbrella of DTELS Engineering Consultancy.

    Prior to the split of 'core' and 'non-core' services, the centralised engineering comprised two distinct functions, Mobile Radio and Static Systems. Each function was divided down into appropriate services and as can be seen from the 1982 Organisation Chart respectively comprised MR1-MR5 and SS1-SS4 groups.

    Working in conjunction with other supporting groups and Field Service specialists, the engineering side of the Directorate developed wide ranging expertise and skills during the 1970's and 1980's covering many facets of telecommunication services, which I believe was unrivalled by any other single company of similar size. I also believe it was generally well respected in the industry.

  • DTELS Marketing Brochure March 1993DTELS Marketing 1993:  printed in March 1993, probably the last to be produced before the eventual privatisation.

    DTELS personnel appearing in this brochure were as follows: 
    Page 2 - Dave Perkins (CWT)
    Page 3 - Alan Smith (CWT)
    Page 4 - Alex Kerr (Aerial Rigger)
    Page 8 - Pete Kearns (TTE1 )

  • Marketing Link and New Wave BrochuresLink & New Wave:  two brochures produced by the Directorate. The first entitled ‘Link’  and was produced in 1988 ahead of the newsletters by the same name that ran from 1989-1991. The second entitled ‘A New Wave in Communications’ and my guess unless anyone knows differently published around 1990.

    Bryn Oliver for sending in the two brochures.  Copyright is Crown.

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DTELS Launch PackDTELS Engineering ConsultancyDTELS Marketing March 1993Link & New Wave :  download files vary 1.2-2.0Mb

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