Our Specialist Response Unit responds to reports of unattended items on the railway. They assess packages, bags and substances such as unusual smells, powders, liquids and chemicals.

Our SRU is unique within British policing because of the broad spectrum of incidents that they respond to. 

Minimising disruption

In the event of an unattended package or substance being found on the railway, the SRU will gather information to decide whether the item can be cleared as lost property or whether additional specialist resources, such as explosive ordnance disposal experts, need to be called.

SRU officers can deal proportionately with an incident to ensure rail passengers and members of staff can travel safely and securely.

Specialist unit, specialist equipment

The SRU have the technical capability to assess packages, bags, suspicious smells, powders, liquids and chemicals and then decide whether it is necessary to call in an EOD expert. This whole process can be completed quickly without compromising safety and prevents the network from being disrupted more than necessary.

Below is a snapshot of some of the equipment that SRU officers use.

  • We use mobile 3D X-ray machines to examine unattended items.
  • In the unlikely event of a chemical incident, SRU officers wear chemical resistant gas-tight suits and deploy a Hapsite to analyse the atmosphere and establish what specific chemical has been used.
  • Our chemical agent monitors were designed for the military – they tell officers whether a substance is a threat or not.
  • Radiation attacks are very unlikely, but SRU are prepared with personal radiation monitors to alarm if the background radiation reaches a certain level; officers then use a hand-held monitor to find the source and detect specific radioactive isotopes.