Police to get “dirty bomb hoods? in terror alert
Sunday, December 10, 2006
POLICE forces have been told to buy anti-radiation masks for their 100,000 frontline officers to protect them in the event of a “dirty bomb? terrorist attack.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has told all forces they should look to purchase specially designed chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) hoods as soon as possible.
Senior officers are concerned that, with only 1,000 thought to have been distributed, their ability to deal with any radiation threat will be severely hampered.
The transparent “escape hoods? are able to protect the wearer from harm for about 20 minutes, allowing him or her to leave an affected area without breathing in any toxic particles.
The urgency that is being placed on the purchase of the hoods reflects the level of concern over the likelihood of a “dirty bomb? attack, where radioactive material, packed around a conventional explosive, is detonated and spreads radiation over a wide area.
The threat has been highlighted by the use of radioactive polonium-210 to kill Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian defector.
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “These hoods are not intended for people who need to go and deal with an incident, they are for officers who are going about their normal duties and may find themselves caught up in a CBRN situation that they and others need to escape.”
An ACPO spokesman said: “All UK police forces have been made aware of the availability of escape hoods. They have been advised by ACPO that individual forces should consider acquiring sufficient hoods to equip all patrolling officers at times of heightened threat.”
The hoods, which cost