How to deal with a bomb threat

If you receive a bomb threat to your site this section provides advice on what action to take.

For specific guidance on dealing with suspicious packages in the postal system and responding to intelligence reports on a packages in the post refer to Suspect/dangerous items.

Assess the risk

Immediately call the Security Helpdesk on 0207 239 6655
  • The Security Helpdesk will take some initial information
  • The Security Helpdesk will provide guidance on the information that the police will require.
  • The Security Helpdesk will then tell you to call the Police (999)
  • You must call the Security Helpdesk back after speaking to the Police
  • The Security Helpdesk will take further details from you
Record details of the threat
  • Date and time
  • Method of communication (letter, phone, police etc.)
  • Who received the threat
  • Who took the call
  • Exact words used
Record details about the target
  • Who or what is the target
  • Is the target considered to be high-profile
  • List any demands that were made
Record details about the bomb
  • Where is the bomb
  • Were they specific with the bomb location
  • What time is it due to go off
  • Was the container specified
  • Was the type of container specified
  • What will cause it to explode
Record details about the caller
  • Sex
  • Approximate age
  • Noticeable accent/nationality
  • Did the caller place the bomb
  • Did the caller identify themself
  • Was a code given
  • State of mind (i.e. irrational, incoherent, distressed)
  • Are they reading from a prepared statement
  • Are there any background noises
  • What is the method used to call (mobile, landline, phone box)
Record any background information
  • Is the threat similar to other recent threats
  • If the threat is one of a series, were the previous threats genuine
  • Are you experiencing industrial relations problems
  • Are there any special events taking place, which may induce hoax calls, e.g. political meetings or controversial social gatherings
  • Was the threat received through a publicly available number
Credible Threat - Police Assessment
  • Do the Police consider the threat to be credible?
  • Record any advice that you receive.

If a building search is required

Prepare to search the building

Divide the building into sectors.

  • A sector may be one large room or a number of smaller rooms.
  • The operational area of a mail centre would probably need to be divided into several search sectors.
  • Cloakrooms, stairs, corridors, lifts, car parks and other areas outside the building must also be included.
  • Prioritise assembly areas and areas which are accessible by the public.
Coordinate the search of the building

Find some volunteers to conduct the search. (The Police will not normally conduct the search, as they are unfamiliar with the premises and wouldn’t be aware of what is out of place.)

Brief the searchers on the importance of checking the building in a systematic and thorough manner.

  • Searchers need to practice in order to familiarise themselves with their areas and assess the time a search is likely to take.

Tell your searchers to look for anything that:

  • should not be there
  • cannot be accounted for
  • is out of place.

Emphasise that if anything is found it should not be touched or interfered with in any way.

Make a decision as to how the searchers will report back, bearing in mind that mobile phones or radio devices must not be used.

If no suspicious item is found

Inform Police and Central Postal Control (CPC) and Ops Control (if you work for PFW)

Agree with Police and CPC and Ops Control (if you work for PFW) if the incident can be closed.

Re-occupation of the building must always be discussed with the Police.

If a suspicious item is found

Report to Person in Control (PiC)

Any person who finds a suspicious item must notify the PiC and remain on hand to brief the Police of the exact location.

Inform Police and Central Postal Control (CPC) and Ops Control (if you work for PFW)

Notify Police and CPC and Ops control (if you work for PFW) that a suspicious item has been found.

Decide if you need to evacuate

If an evacuation has not already taken place consider doing so now.

Follow Police advice.

Be aware!

Bombs are more likely to be planted in publicly accessible areas, eg. car parks. Therefore you need to decide if previously agreed evacuation areas are in an appropriate place to be used. If the Police are in attendance always follow their advice.

If evacuation is required

Check evacuation routes and assembly areas for any suspicious items.

Move people away from the building to ensure there is sufficient distance between the assembly points and the threat.

How to manage an evacuation

If in doubt at any stage always call Central Postal Control (CPC)

Central Postal Control deals with issues on a regular basis and will be able to talk you through how to deal with any situation.