Broadmoor Sirens

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One of the Broadmoor Sirens

The Broadmoor Sirens are a series of thirteen warning sirens based in towns and villages surrounding Broadmoor Hospital in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. They were first installed in 1952 and are based on air raid sirens with the intention of warning residents living near the high-security psychiatric hospital of an escaped patient.[1]

History[edit]

The Broadmoor Sirens were installed in 1952 in response to a patient escaping from Broadmoor and murdering a child in Farley Hill, Berkshire before being recaptured. They are similar to air-raid sirens but employ shutters to produce an alternating "high - low" warning tone.[2] More sirens were added in the 1960s[3] after discussions in the House of Commons raised the issue that the sirens' two-mile (3.2 km) radius was insufficient for nearby towns such as Camberley and Wokingham.[4] The thirteen sirens, labelled A–M to distinguish each unit, were created with the intention of warning residents in surrounding towns and villages to remain in their homes and keep their children supervised following the escape of a Broadmoor patient. The sirens are activated as a test at 10am every Monday to ensure they are working.[1] The sirens are susceptible to electrical interference. In 2014, the Bracknell siren was activated accidentally during an electrical storm.[5] The thirteen satellite sirens are due to be decommissioned during 2018, with one siren remaining in the hospital grounds.[6]

Future[edit]

The last time the Broadmoor Sirens were activated because of an escape was in 1991, although they were activated in 1993 because of an attack at the hospital.[7] In 2014, there were plans to remove seven of the thirteen sirens. This was because Broadmoor had added a second security fence around the hospital and intended to upgrade the remainder of the sirens so they had a five-mile (8.0 km) radius to improve on the two-mile radius of the 1952 sirens.[8] Local residents objected to this on safety grounds due to there being sixteen primary schools within the radius of the sirens.[2] It was reported on June 2, 2016 that the hospital plans to have twelve (possibly all thirteen) sirens scrapped by 2018 in favour of escape alerts via the internet and Twitter.[9] However, it is possible that Siren G, the siren nearest to the hospital, will remain in operation, though it will most likely be scrapped as well and replaced by a newer siren.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hudson, Christopher (2008-12-10). "Broadmoor hospital finally gives up its secrets". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  2. ^ a b Lyons, Rick (2013-03-24). "Fears for kids as prison sirens axed". Daily Star. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  3. ^ Slevin, Jennie (2014-06-09). "Councillors hear plans for future of Broadmoor sirens". Get Reading. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  4. ^ "Broadmoor Institution (Hansard, 22 February 1960)". Hansard. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  5. ^ "UPDATE: Trust apologises after three hour fault with Broadmoor siren in the early hours of this morning". Bracknell News. 2014-07-18. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  6. ^ "The Broadmoor Siren". West London Mental Health, 6 January 2016.
  7. ^ "The Broadmoor Siren". BBC. 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  8. ^ "Plan to scrap Broadmoor Hospital satellite sirens". BBC News. 2014-07-11. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  9. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/02/broadmoors-plans-to-replace-warning-sirens-with-twitter-alerts-n/