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.

Changes to the Broadmoor siren

Crowthorne residents will be aware that we are to move into a new state of the art; high secure hospital. A new siren will be installed within the grounds of the hospital in order to inform local residents if there were to be an escape. The 1950s technology currently used has failed on many occasions and has proved unreliable and costly to maintain. We will not therefore replace these sirens when we move into the new hospital. It is our intention to decommission all of these sirens once we have moved into the new hospital.

The single siren in the hospital grounds will be ‘silent’ tested on a weekly basis. This means that local residents will no longer hear the 10am Monday morning test. It is our intention to inform local residents of the sound of the new siren closer to the time that we commission it.

Following the consultation, the Trust was invited to attend the Bracknell Forest Council oversight and scrutiny commission (OSC) to present its proposals. As a result, both the Trust and OSC agreed that until such time that the new hospital is complete and the security perimeter fence realigned (2018), all community sirens would remain, subject to the ability to maintain them in working order. At the time of that consultation there were 13 community located sirens. However since then we have had to decommission 6 of those sirens because of irreparable faults.

Watch our brief video below to find out more.