Inspector Sands

Whilst navigating the London Underground recently, I have, on several occasions, heard them using the same tannoy announcement at various stations requesting that…

“Will Inspector Sands please go to the operations room immediately.”

“Inspector Sands is a code word. It is used across all Network Rail and London Underground stations, and is a way of letting station staff know that there is shit going down somewhere in the station that they would rather not alert the public to – a bomb scare, a fire, an axe weilding maniac. The idea being that staff can attend to the situation, or at least get out first, whilst the public will be lead to believe that good old Inspector Sands is genuinely required in the operations room with the upmost haste.

There is one major flaw with this system though, apart from the fact that most people know that Inspector Sands is bullshit and doesn’t exist, and that is that This announcement is not made by a real person in the spare of the moment, but is an automated system message that they just play on loop.

If they really did want to pull the wool over people’s eyes, that there genuinely was an Inspector Sands in attendance at a station, and for some reason he had gone walkabout and was suddenly needed in the operations room, would every station have a automated system tannoy announcement ready just in case of this statistically unlikely occurrance?

“Emergency Services, what service do you require?”

“yes hello, this is Oxford Circus tube station calling. We have an incident occurring here and could do with police in attendance.”

“Yes somebody is on route already.”

“Hang on a moment, we have just one extra request. I know that this might seem a little peculiar, but is there any chance that you could make sure that their name is Inspector Sands please?”

“Inspector Sands? That’s a little bit specific isn’t it? I don’t think we have an Inspector Sands on duty, we have an Inspector Higgins on route.”

“Ah, this might be an issue. It’s just that if they go missing on the station, and we need them to report to the operations room quickly, Will Inspector Sands please go to the operations room immediately is the only announcement we have on the system. Unfortunately we don’t have any way of summonsing an inspector by any other name.”

“I see. Could we just ask Inspector Higgins to pretend his name is Inspector Sands whilst in attendance?”

“Yes that would be extremely helpful, thank you.”

Using that same rationale though, and accepting that Inspector Sands is a code word… If your name is actually Inspector Sands then you are probably barred from attending any incidents at a train station at all, as it all just gets a bit too complicated.

“Will the real Inspector Sands please go to the operations room. That’s the real Inspector Sands, not the other one. Thank you.”

As “Inspector Sands” is meant to mask the severity of a situation from the public, the use of Codes 1-7 probably do the exact opposite, as “Code 2 on platform 4” Sounds like there is a terrorist attack, when really they are just cleaning codes.

Code 1 is blood, and Code 2 is poo. At home I now announce that there is a code 2 in the bathroom and that I may be some time – Classy! If your Code 2 has any Code 1 in it, then you should probably see a doctor pretty sharpish.

Code 3 is vomit, and the Underground often stinks of Code 3.

Code 4 is a miscellaneous spillage, and 5 is broken glass. Being blind, I am the cause of multiple Code 4s a day, usually because of a Code 5. Approximately 6% of our total monthly household expenditure is spent on replacement glassware due to bloody Code 5s.

Code 6 is just litter or rubbish, and Code 7 is anything that doesn’t fit into the first 6… Hmm, who knows what that could be I wonder – My money’s on spunk. According to samples that were taken from London Underground carriages, there’s Code 7 on all of the seats. It’s best to stand if I’m honest, just don’t touch the handrails – The only codes that aren’t on those things are 5 and 6.

Happy travelling!

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