Delivered items can include letters, packets and parcels and may contain explosive or incendiary devices, sharps or blades, offensive materials, chemical, biological or radiological (CBR) materials or devices. Anyone receiving a suspicious delivery is unlikely to know exactly which type it is, so procedures should cater for every eventuality.
A delivered item will probably have received fairly rough handling in the post and so any device is unlikely to function through being moved, but any attempt at opening it may set it off. In contrast, even gentle handling or movement of an item containing CBR material can lead to the release of contamination. Unless delivered by courier, an item is unlikely to contain a timing device.
Delivered items come in a variety of shapes and sizes. a well-made one will look innocuous but there are many possible indicators that a delivered item may be of concern. Bulky deliveries (e.g. office equipment, stationery and catering supplies) are also a potential vulnerability. This risk can be reduced through measures such as: matching deliveries against orders, only accepting those which are expected. using trusted suppliers wherever possible. maintaining vigilance. inspecting deliveries.
Although any suspect item should be treated seriously, remember that the great majority will be false alarms and a few may be hoaxes. Try to ensure that your procedures, while effective, are not needlessly disruptive. A properly conducted risk assessment should give you a good idea of the likely threat to your organisation and indicate precautions you need to take. seek advice from your local police Counter Terrorism Security Adviser (CTSA) on the threat and appropriate protective measures.
Ensure that all staff who handle and open mail and other deliveries are and remain aware of the possible indicators that a delivered item may be of concern, and the appropriate action upon discovery of any suspicious delivered item. While this advice applies particularly to staff in post rooms, it is also relevant to all staff who may be the recipients of such items, as well as staff at entrances who may receive hand and courier delivered items.
Train staff who open significant volumes of post to do so with letter openers and with minimum movement, to keep hands away from noses and mouths and always to wash their hands after such work. Staff should not blow into envelopes or shake them.
There is much debate about the use of washing and shower facilities in the event of the release of a suspected CBR material. What is best to do in this regard depends on the nature of the material – the emergency services are best placed to make such judgments. Advice on initial action upon discovery of any suspicious delivered item therefore excludes such advice but recommends that those directly affected are moved to a safe location close to the incident, keeping these individuals separate from those not involved. The only instance where thorough washing is advised is if an individual suffers discomfort following contact with what appears to be a corrosive solid or liquid. copious amounts of water should be used.Encouraging regular correspondents to put their return address on each item, and in particular to provide advance warning of