Suicide Bombings

Policy Center Resource

Police officers must be prepared for the potential of suicide bomber attacks. No policy can prescribe the precise actions that an officer must take in such an event because these incidents generally develop rapidly, without warning, and in widely varied and dynamic environments. When an officer has established probable cause to believe that a suicide bomber is present, the use of force is authorized up to and including the use of deadly force. Negotiation with a suicide bomber is not a reasonable option. An agency’s policy on rapid patrol officer response and deployment should be the operative tactical approach given the exigency of circumstances surrounding suicide bombings.

These documents provide officers with a protocol to include initial response, deployment, potential countermeasures, and coordination with specialized units for dealing with reports or confirmation of suicide bombers. Officers who are alert to suicide bomber tactics and practices and who are familiar with possible countermeasures for intervention and mitigation of attacks are better prepared to save lives, critical infrastructure, or both.

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