Gonzo risk assessment

We, by which I suppose I really mean ‘the media’ are famously bad at assessing risk. Case study: is it just me or is there something scarily dim-witted about the apparently widespread idea that all of London’s emergency services ought to be issued with radios that work in narrow tunnels in the clay hundreds of feet beneath the streets of the city?

I know that London Underground’s staff have radios that work down there but I’m assuming they achieved this by lining the network’s tunnels with transceivers at vast expense and over many years. I suppose that it might be reasonable for the Underground to permit others access to this network but is it also reasonable to require the police, the firefighters and the ambulance crews to re-equip with radios that combine old-fashioned, routine, above-the-ground use with exotic below-the-ground access?

How will it all work? Will above-the-ground radios hand over smoothly to underground networks or will there be a big knob on the handset? Will the underground network just retransmit the overground stuff? Does anyone know? More important: since absolutely no one (not even the critical GLA committee reporting yesterday) thinks that a single life would have been saved by such an exotic system, why are we wasting our time worrying about it?

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