I’d guess they using one of the 5 yr licence, VHF for UHF business packages - “Business Light” is the term here. Clusters of channels, shared on a non-interference, but unprotected basis. Loads of security firms, and stopwatch systems use these, and there are people of course who listen in, so digital with encryption is becoming more important. We don’t have our old type approval system - it was quite tough, like the US before we went European and lax, but it does mean that as longs as radios are within their specification nobody is interested in checking them. I’m old enough to remember my first licence where a man from the Government turned up, stuck them own a test set, then handed me the licence. Now you apply on-line, get instant response, then buy a couple of Baofengs and you are legal.
Commercial users wreck radios regularly, so the decision on the radio is usually made on a purely financial perspective. ?300 per radio with warranty and perhaps 3 year lifespan, or ?60 per radio with a 6 month lifespan on some? My son works for the Police in communications and the lifespan of their radios at quite a high cost per radio can be weeks. I suppose somebody should be doing a risk assessment. How critical is comms - to the Police, it is loss of life as the highest risk, to a security guard in a UK shopping centre, it’s usually theft, rarely anything more serious in terms of the radio traffic the system carries. The most common failures are due to batteries - the usual case of somebody grabbing a radio off the charger, when it was the one only put on charge ten minutes before and with only a small charge in it. I was clearing my store out and found a couple of brand new Motorolas still in their boxes. I put them on ebay for ?60 each, a fraction of what they cost. Nobody bought them. I sold a brand new digital Baofeng DM-5R I bought to see what they were like and never got it out of the box after reading the problems with the Tier incapability. Somebody bought it for ?25, and complained and wanted a refund - the postage cost me a quarter of what they paid! The only people who seem to think professional quality radios are worth the money are people who really understand value for money. Sadly, we’re moving to disposable radios.
For what it’s worth - PMR446 here is pretty terrible. the cheapo products rule the roost, kids have them everywhere, and the few business who run them because they don’t know better get quite fed up with how unreliable their comms are. One local restaurant order food with their, and the locals take great pride in mimicking voices and cancelling orders or adding extras - they’ve been doing it for at least two years now, and the restaurant seem totally unaware. We also have a local school who pass details of children’s names and addresses, issues at school and other identifiable stuff over their PMR446 system, against our VERY strict protection laws. I tried to explain to the headteacher, but got dismissed with the statement that their radios were all ‘coded’ and secure. He fell for the marketing blurb on the boxes.