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Bomb threats or suspicious packages during an event

The site manager/event safety coordinator/event manager and the stewards at their disposal must be aware of the potential, however negligible, of bomb threats and the ensuing actions that must be taken.

Bomb threats may be received by any agency and are likely to come by way of telephone call. As soon as it is clear that the caller is making a 'bomb threat':

  • let the caller finish the message without interruption (any response to a question is essential - eg: "Are you listening?" - keep the response to 1-2 words)
  • write down the message exactly (exact time of call)

Listen to any clues which may indicate:

  • caller's sex and approximate age
  • any notable condition affecting speech (eg: drunkenness, laughter, anger, excitement)
  • peculiarities of speech (eg: accent, mispronunciation, impediment, tone and pitch of voice)
  • background noises (eg: traffic, music)

If possible establish:

  • where the bomb is located
  • what time it will explode
  • any description of device
  • why it was placed
  • who the caller is

In the event of a bomb threat being received the person receiving the call must immediately inform the police - the site manager/event safety coordinator/event manager must then be notified. The Police will be responsible for the coordination of the response to a bomb threat in accordance with agreed Northumbria Police procedures.

Suspicious packages and vehicles

Even without the receipt of a specific bomb threat, stewards must remain vigilant with regards to the possibility of the discovery of a suspect package(s) or vehicles and should make a cursory check of their area of responsibility when they commence patrol.

Actions for an UNATTENDED package:

  • ask customers in the area of the bag and check ownership
  • was the package found in an off limit area / place of concealment
  • was there Suspicious activity witnessed by the owner who has left the package
  • any Unusual sound (ticking etc)
  • is the item an unusual package
  • any Suspicious smells, anything out of the ordinary?
  • any Suspicious items - is anything hanging/protruding from the bag ie wires?
  • inform control and confirm no change in threat
  • contain the area around the bag ensuring no one touches the bag.  This MUST be discreet to ensure customers are not alarmed.  Good communications are vital
  • check CCTV (if available)

If the tasks above are all negative and in the absence of any further intelligence the bag can be opened, slowly, after gently feeling around the bag for suspicious items. Open side pockets first, checking for ID and items which could reduce or increase risk. Once established the bag is not a risk it can be removed to lost property.

Actions for SUSPICIOUS package:

Should any of the tasks above be confirmed then contact the Police who will instigate police procedures.

Actions by the steward on discovery of a suspicious package(s) or vehicle:

  • move away from the package, contact control, from a safe distance and behind hard cover before contacting site manager/event safety coordinator/event manager via the radio or by mobile phone
  • do not use the words BOMB or SUSPECT PACKAGE/VEHICLE as this might cause alarm if overheard by members of the public
  • state the location of the suspect package/vehicle using the code word MR CASE. For example, MR CASE IS AT THE CAR PARK (repeat)
  • keep everyone away from the area without raising concerns or saying what the potential problem is

The site manager/event safety coordinator/event manager will notify the Police immediately. The Police will be responsible for the coordination of the response. If the Police, following consultation with the site manager/event safety coordinator/event manager, decides that the appropriate response to an emergency situation is to activate an 'Action Plan' including a partial or full evacuation, guidance pertinent to the implementation of the 'Action Plan' the site manager/event safety coordinator/event manager will instruct the public address/sound system controller to make a public address announcement to the public:

  • clear and concise instructions to the crowd
  • move in accordance with the 'Action Plan' implemented over the Public Address system
  • public co-operation should be requested and some reasoning behind the need to move explained.
  • stewards should actively encourage the crowd to move in accordance with the public address announcement.
  • stay calm and attempt to reassure and calm the crowd

It will be vital that in the event of a failure of public address systems, correct information is relayed by stewards using portable loudhailers.

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