1st Edition

Policing and CBRN Hazards Advancing CBRN Competence in Police Education

By Patrick Wengler Copyright 2024
    140 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book makes an important contribution to police scholarship by focusing on the critical need for law enforcement personnel to receive education on chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear (CBRN) hazards. Under the CBRN umbrella are chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, biologically derived toxins, radiological particulate hazards, and other agents, any of which have the potential to inflict bodily harm, incapacitation, or death. Such weapons have been a part of human history for centuries, starting with biological warfare, later shifting over to chemical warfare, and in the last century, radiological and nuclear warfare. The greater availability and accessibility of such materials necessitates that first response and investigation is no longer limited to the military but is required of police forces reacting to incidents in the community, whether acts of terrorism, traffic accidents, or standard industrial incidents.

    In this book it is argued that basic knowledge of CBRN is essential for police officers at all levels to assess and protect crime scenes, as well as to investigate cases involving CBRN materials. The author uses case studies and technical education to instruct police on how and when CBRN agents can be used maliciously, and the best methods for identifying, analysing, monitoring, and investigating related incidents. The text makes a clear case for integrating CBRN studies into police education so that first responders are enabled to assess incidents and share information with emergency management and other services to determine the most effective equipment and personnel to deploy.

    This book is essential for police educators and trainers in both universities and police academies, those administering or engaged in in-service police training, and scholars studying policing, criminal justice, and terrorism.

    Part 1 Historical Overview of CBRNe and HAZMAT Incidents and Impacts

    Chapter 1. Etymology of Chemical, Biological and Radiological Agents and the Context on How Policing is Involved.

    Etymology of abbreviations related to chemical, biological, and radiological agents

    Introduction political violence and radicalization leading to terrorism with chemical, biological, and radiological agents

    What can be understood under terrorism and where does it come from?

    What does terrorism with chemical, biological, and radiological agents imply for policing?

    Chapter 2. Terror Groups Analysed in Relation with CBRN Agents

    Terror Groups analysed in relation with CBRN agents used maliciously (as a weapon)

    Group 01: State terrorism

    Group 02: Religious terrorism

    Group 03: Marxism-oriented terrorist groups

    Group 04: Single issue terrorist groups

    Group 05: Lone wolves, acts of terrorism, and crime

    Chapter 3. The Impact of Planes as Transportation of Goods and Living Beings

    Airport, Planes, and Cargo: A risk for law enforcement officers?

    Freight — Cargo and Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Agents

    Accidents with dangerous goods

    Infrastructure risks: Terror threat and terror acts

    Chapter 4. Bad Examples

    Wrong response due to lack of training and knowledge

    Anthrax suspicion 2016

    Another suspicious case happened in 2018

    Border-crossing incidents: A reflection

    Part 2 CBRNe/ HAZMAT Training Analysis Based on Current Availabilities

    Chapter 5. Education on CBRNe/HAZMAT for Police Officers

    Current CBRN/HAZMAT training availabilities

    Police Training and Education related to CBRN/HAZMAT incident response

    Possible set-up and training implementation

    Chapter 6. The Necessity in Designing Police Education in HAZMAT/CBRN

    Overview on current CBRN/HAZMAT courses for law enforcement

    Teaching subjects that should be taken into consideration

    Subjects to be covered in CBRN/HAZMAT response


    Part 3 Insight of a Possible Police Education Programme on CBRNe/HAZMAT

    Chapter 7. Subject Content for CBRN/HAZMAT Police Education

    Detailed look into subject content for CBRN/HAZMAT Police education

    CBRN/HAZMAT levels of training

    Operations level

    Technician level

    Incident command




    Chapter 8. Investigation, Report Writing, and Intelligence Analysis


    First person on scene template

    First look report

    Evidence collection command post (ECCP)

    CBRN/HAZMAT final report

    Chapter 9. Possible Implementation Strategy for Learning Curriculum in CBRN/HAZMAT

    How to implement a training schedule on CBRN topics

    Continued Professional Education (CPD)

    Awareness Course (one full day)

    Specialised training courses


    Patrick Wengler is a Project Officer in the Assistance and Protection Branch of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Prior to joining the OPCW in 2020, he was a Police Inspector, Programme Assistant in Higher Education, Senior Lecturer at university and subject matter expert teaching for various international organisations. His main responsibilities include working on capacity building and non-proliferation projects, all aspects of emergency management as well as scene assessments of contaminated environments.

    He holds a Master of Science in Security Studies from the London Metropolitan University (UK), a Master’s in CBRN first responder and decision making from the University of Rome Tor Vergata (IT), a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Investigation from the University of Sunderland (UK), a Hazardous Material Technician qualification from the New Jersey State Police (US) and is a qualified CBRN operator by the CBRN School in Rieti (IT).


    ‘While the author is a serving member of staff at OPCW, The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the OPCW.’

    "In our modern, fast-changing world, currently shaken by major geopolitical, religious, and ideological tensions, the likelihood of CBRN incidents to occur is more real and prominent than ever before. In this book, the author gives a scope from his practical point of view on CBRN-related situations, problems or threats a first responder from law enforcement may encounter on the crime scene. Any potential first responder, be it military, police or civilian, needs to have sufficient training to analyse, assess and possibly identify a CBRN-related scenario. I particularly liked the way how the author, himself a former police officer, draws the attention to any law enforcer to consider and deal with the eventuality of CBRN indicators on a crime scene or crime-related situation. A must-read, which I personally recommend to any responder or operator, potentially first on the scene from the security forces, firefighters and military."

    Jean-Marie Zimmer, Biologist, CBRN Operator & Advisor

    "A comprehensive knowledge of Chemical/Biological/Radiological/Nuclear (CBRN) hazards and of the best practices to prevent an episode and protect against it, and, moreover, to mitigate the consequences connected to the use of these non-conventional agents, requires broad and cross-cutting skills. For this reason, this expertise can only spurt out as the outcome of a careful preparation and strong determination, and, of course, from some odd inclinations and interests.

    However, just as in a kitchen, perseverance and commitment can make the difference between a good cooker, which perfectly replicate established recipes, and a big chef, who explores new pathways and discovers original and astonishing courses. 

    During my many years of work in research, education and training on CBRN issues, I have rarely met experts as dedicated, sincerely passionate and curious as Patrick Wengler.

    This book is the accurate result of a balanced mix of these qualities and, likewise, of a meticulous insight, profound interest for the CBRN subject and scrupulous understanding of a crucial need: the importance of disseminating knowledge of the basic principles on the defence from CBRN threats and consequences of CBRN events specifically devoted to police officers. This is mainly to offer them the tools to manage the emergency and investigate the incident."

    Daniele Di Giovanni, PhD, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Researcher – Member of the Didactic board of the 1st and 2ndLevel International Master Courses in "Protection against CBRNe events"