Last Updated 29 Mar 2021

Bomb Threat and Explosion Investigation

Category Explosive, Police, Sound
Words 1403 (5 pages)
Table of contents

In addition, other law enforcement agencies may have specific information value. The Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), Police Intelligence Group (PIG) and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) maintains files on individuals who make threats against political leaders.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) may provide information of imported goods; the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) can provide information on individuals entering or leaving the country; the Firearms and Explosive Division, Civil Security Group, Philippine National Police (FED, CSG, PNP) maintains records on firearms and explosives; the Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR) maintains records on fugitives; the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHILPOST) may assist in matters related to the mails; the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Force (NAKTAF) may, have files of information and intelligence because they have primary jurisdiction in kidnap-for-ransom cases. On the local level, the local police authorities frequently maintain individual photo or “mug” files, alias files, business indexes, modus operandi (MO) files, victimization records and crime patterns. In addition, court records, probation and parole files, and other municipal records such as utilities, may prove valuable. Records of businesses, such as the telephone, electric and water companies, may also be helpful.

Surveillance and stakeouts are important components of kidnap-for-ransom investigations. These activities may require various forms of electronic surveillance, including wiretapping, eavesdropping, automobile locator systems, videotaping and photography. Such efforts may require assistance from other agencies. The investigator should be familiar, not only with the use of such equipment, but also with the laws surrounding their application. The investigator must know when a court order is necessary for the use of electronic surveillance. In no case should an investigator use extralegal means to secure information.

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The use of explosives, by certain criminals and criminal organizations, has increased since the mid – 1980’s. Statistics also show that homes, vehicles and businesses were the primary targets of bombings and, in eight out of ten incidents, the motive was vandalism and revenge. Bombs are often made out common household items regularly found in the kitchen, garage or under the sink. The pipe bomb, the easiest bomb to construct, is often packed with screws and nails which act as projectiles, similar to hand grenades. These are materials that the bomber relies on, in part, to help conceal their identity. Because they are usually home-made, they are limited in their design only by the imagination of the bomber.

When searching for a bomb, the investigator should simply look for anything that appears unusual. The bomb technician decides what is and is not a bomb. The bombing crime scene must be linked to the bomber and, if found intact, the bombs themselves can sometimes reveal the identity of the bomber. Bombs can be constructed to look like almost anything and can be placed or delivered in a variety of ways. The chance of locating a bomb that looks like the stereotypical bomb is almost non-existent.

Investigating The Bomb Threat

Bomb threats are delivered in a variety of ways. Most are telephoned in to the target. Occasionally, these calls are made through a third party. Sometimes, a threat is communicated through in writing or via a recording.

There are two (2) general explanations as to why the bombers communicate a bomb threat: 1. The caller has definite knowledge or believes that an explosive or incendiary bomb has been or will be placed, and that he or she wants to minimize personal injury or property damage. The caller may be the person who placed the device or someone else who has become aware of such information. 2. The caller wants to create an atmosphere of anxiety and panic that will, in turn, results in disruption of normal activities at the facility where the device is supposedly placed. Whatever the reason, there will certainly be a reaction to it. However, through proper planning, the wide variety of uncontrollable reactions can be minimized.

The bomb threat caller is the best source of information about a bomb. When bomb threat is called in, the following steps should be implemented:

  • Keep the caller on the line as long as possible.
  • Ask him or her to repeat the message and record every word spoken by the person.
  • Ask the caller about the location of the bomb and the time of detonation of the device.
  • Inform the caller that the building is occupied and the detonation of a bomb could kill or injure innocent people.
  • Pay particular attention to background noise such as motor running, music playing or any other noise. This may give a clue as to the location of the caller.
  • Listen closely to he voice (male or female), voice quality (calm or excited), accent and speech impediments.
  • Interview the person who received the call for the preceding information.

Responding To a Bomb Threat

In response to a bomb threat, the following reminders must be strictly observed by the first responders:

  • Refrain from broadcasting while at the location. Radio transmissions might trigger the explosive device.
  • Anyone involved in the search must not touch any suspected items. Under any circumstances, if a suspicious object is located, it should not be touched or disturbed.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the explosive device.
  • Call the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team (EODT) to handle the explosive device.

Safety Precautions

In a raid or search situation in which explosive devices are expected to be encountered, investigations should be accompanied by an explosives expert. This person can be used to inform other police officers of what type of device is at hand and how best to proceed safely with the raid. Other precautions include the following:

  • Only one officer at a time should approach the suspected booby trap.
  • When trip wires are located, both ends of the wire should be checked.
  • Wires that appear to be electric should not be cut.
  • No containers should be opened without thorough examination.

Elements of Bomb Incident Planning

To counter bomb incidents, a physical security plan and bomb incident plan should be made.

The elements of these plans are as follows:


  • Who will be in charge of the incident?
  • Where will the control center be located?
  • How will critical decisions be made?
  • Who will man the control center?
  • What primary and alternate communication system will be employed during the incident?


What procedures will be followed upon receipt of a bomb threat or notice that a device has been found?


If evacuation is ordered, what procedure will be followed?


  • What will be searched?
  • What search technique will be employed?
  • Who will search?

Damage Control

  • What damage control measures will be taken?
  • Who will take the damage control measure?


What procedure will be followed if a bomb detonates without warning?

Bomb – Searching Techiques

A two-person search item is recommended when looking for bombs. When the search team enters the room, they should first move to various parts of the room and stand quietly, with their eyes closed, and listen for clockwork device. Often, a clockwork device can easily be detected without the use of specialized equipment. Even if no clockwork mechanism can be detected, the search team is now aware of the background noise level within the room itself. Background noise is always disturbing during a building search.

If a ticking sound is heard but cannot be located, one might become unnerved. The ticking sound might come from an unbalanced air conditioner fan, several floors away, or from a dripping sink down the hall. Sound can transfer through air conditioning ducts, along water pipes and through walls. One of the more difficult buildings to search is one that has steam of hot water heat. This type of building will constantly thump, crack, chatter and tick because of the movement of the steam of hot water through the pipes and the expansion and contraction of the pipes. The room should be divided into two virtually equal parts. An imaginary line is then drawn between two objects in the room.

The first searching height will usually cover items in the room up to hip height. The searchers then position themselves on opposite sides of the room and begin searching their way around the room, working toward each other. During the search, all items resting on the floor and positioned around or on the wall area are inspected. Although many minor variations are possible in searching a room, the following are the summary of the basic searching steps:

  • Divide the area and select a search height.
  • Start from the bottom and work yourself up.
  • Start back-to-back and work toward each other.
  • Go around the walls and proceed toward the center of the room.
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