If you live in Crowthorne or the surrounding area, you’ll be familiar with the sound of the Broadmoor Hospital siren, which is tested every Monday morning at 10am.

Broadmoor Hospital siren

The wailing siren is sounded for two minutes, followed shortly later by the all clear continuous siren for two minutes.

Broadmoor Hospital has for many years relied on satellite sirens covering local areas including Sandhurst, Wokingham, Bracknell and Camberley to inform communities of an escape.

The siren technology was introduced in 1952 following an escape from the hospital and the subsequent recommendations from an independent inquiry into the escape.  The siren was last activated to warn of an escape from the hospital in 1993.  Since that time there has been significant investment in improving security at the hospital including the installation of advanced CCTV and perimeter intrusion detection systems.

In addition to the sirens, the hospital has arrangements in place with the local authorities for the immediate notification and cascade of information to all local schools. These arrangements are tested at the beginning of each term. The hospital also has emergency plans in place with Thames Valley Police.

In the event of an incident at the hospital, we would also post updates on the website to keep the public informed. Arrangements are also in place to provide timely information to local and national media agencies, should there be an escape.


Decommissioning Broadmoor Hospital siren

Our new hospital is scheduled to open next year. Offering a much improved clinical environment, this new state of the art, fit for purpose facility will introduce some of the latest security technology available to date.

As a result, at the same time we’ll be switching off all remaining community sirens and replacing them with a single siren, on the hospital grounds. To support this, we’ll be working very closely with Thames Valley Police and making use of their Thames Valley Alert  system, a modern and more informative electronic system which employs the use of social media, and telecommunications. This two-way community messaging system delivers the latest policing news specific to each local area in which residents live or work by email, text or telephone.

In the highly unlikely event of a patient escape, the siren will notify residents within the immediate vicinity, whilst the electronic alert system will immediately inform registered residents.

In advance of the patient moves, we’re encouraging as many residents in the below boroughs as possible to sign up for Thames Valley alerts which is simple to use, easy to register and more responsive to local needs.

The sirens have been part of the Broadmoor Hospital security system for over 65 years and although due to huge advances in technology and failure of equipment, they no longer form part of our robust security system. However, we understand that this decommissioning exercise is likely to cause some concern, so have answered some of you most frequently asked questions below. Should you require any further information, please contact us.

 When originally installed, Broadmoor hospital sirens were located in the following boroughs:

  • Bagshot*
  • Bracknell
  • Camberley*
  • Crowthorne
  • Finchampstead
  • Little Sandhurst
  • Sandhurst
  • Wokingham

If you are a resident or working in any of the Bracknell Forest Council areas above, make sure you register for Thames Valley Alerts.

* Bagshot and Camberley residents should register for Surrey Neighbourhood Alerts

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the decommissioning process:

Why can’t the sirens be retained?

If the sirens are unnecessary, why have they not been decommissioned before?

Why were the sirens allowed to get into such a state of disrepair?

How have local residents been consulted?

When will the existing sirens be turned off?

How will new systems be tested to ensure they are working at all times?

What will the trust do with the money it saves?

When will the alternative system start?

How do I sign up?

Who will have access to my details?

Will I need to renew my registration?

What will happen to the old sirens?