Suspicious Items Protocol
This page is to provide you with information / a refresher as to the process and procedure to carry out if you ever come across a suspect items while at work, this information is for guidance only and it is to be used in conjunction with any client, venue or event suspicious or unattended item procedure.
We fully understand that when faced with a report of a suspect item, that the public must feel uneasy about a situation, item or a person, or they wouldn’t have brought it to your attention. Any person that reports such a incident to you should be treated with respect, and consideration and not dismissed out of hand. In the same vain, if a person is the main aspect / subject of the report then that person whom a report has been made about should also be treated as innocent until proven otherwise.
Not everyone is a terrorist, and not every suspect package is an explosive device. But what if it one day they are and that bag is your worst possible nightmare.
What the public expect from you as a security operative or event steward is to be professional in your approach and to deal with the report seriously and professionally.
By following this H-O-T Protocol you are working to a tried and tested process used by many official UK government bodies in this type of situation.
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H-O-T Protocol / Procedure for Suspicious or Unattended Items
Suspicious items – Guidance for staff
Always Consider Your Own Safety First!!
Always Follow The Venue / Client Process or Procedure!
When dealing with suspicious items apply the 4 C’s protocol:-
Whether or not the item exhibits recognisably suspicious characteristics
Get CCTV observation if possible
Report the incident to control or your supervisor straight away
The HOT protocol / Procedure may be used to inform your judgement, so ask yourself:-
Is it HIDDEN?
Has the item been deliberately concealed or is it obviously hidden from view?
Is it OBVIOUSLY suspicious?
Does it have wires, circuit boards, batteries, tape, liquids or putty-like substances visible?
Do you think the item poses an immediate threat to life?
Is it TYPICAL?
Is the item typical of what you would expect to find in this location?
Most lost property is found in locations where people congregate. Ask if anyone has left the item
If the item is assessed to be unattended rather than suspicious, examine further before applying lost property procedures
However, if H-O-T leads you to believe the item is suspicious, apply the 4Cs
What to do when you feel the item is suspicious:
Follow the organisations or venues process or procedure first.
CLEAR the immediate area
Do not touch it!
Report your concerns to control or your supervisor straight away, if not done so already
Take charge and move people away to a safe distance. Even for a small item such as a briefcase move at least 100m away from the item starting from the centre and moving out
Do not use radios or mobile phones at all if possible or at least within 15 metres, always use internal phones where possible
Get CCTV on to the area if possible
Keep yourself and other people out of line of sight of the item. It is a broad rule, but generally if you cannot see the item then you are better protected from it
Think about what you can hide behind. Pick something substantial and keep away from glass such as windows and skylights
Cordon off the area
Inform your control room and/or supervisor
Do not use radios within 15 metres
Call 999 if necessary or if instructed
CONTROL access to the cordoned area
Members of the public should not be able to approach the area until it is deemed safe
Try and keep eyewitnesses on hand so they can tell police what they saw
Taken for UK Government Guidance that can be found at:
HOT Protocol / Procedure for Suspicious or Unattended Items Video
HOT Protocol | HOT Procedure | Suspicious Items Procedure | Suspect Packages Procedure
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