Civil emergencies

Casualty bureau – four core units

The casualty bureau (CB) comprises four core units. Depending on the scale and nature of the incident, not all these units may be required.

Incident contact centre

The incident contact centre (ICC) is the police service call-handling response in any incident requiring a CB. It receives calls from the public and appropriate information from the documentation teams despatched to obtain details of people involved in the incident.

ICCs are responsible for:

  • recording misper details
  • assessing the likelihood of a person’s involvement via the senior identification manager’s (SIM) questions
  • making an initial assessment and applying involvement gradings (IG)
  • receiving details from the public about previously reported mispers
  • receiving other incident-related information from various sources such as offers of help from other agencies
  • recording all the above details onto CasWeb
  • recording information received from callers who are reporting themselves as a casualty, survivor/evacuee and/or potential witness, on the appropriate standard CB forms in accordance with the SIM’s policy.

ICC staff require briefing and debriefing and they should have fully functioning equipment before the telephone number is released to the public. The number can be released sooner, provided that a holding message has been recorded giving information on when the lines will be open and the information that will be required – but this depends on the set up of individual forces and the mutual aid response.

ICC workflow

Diagram showing the workflow of an ICC.

ICC supervisor

The supervisor is accountable to the CB manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • supervising and briefing ICC operators
  • ensuring timely exchange of information
  • assessing staff levels regularly and adjusting them as required
  • scheduling and managing rest and refreshment breaks for ICC operators
  • checking that documents received from partner teams are the appropriate ones.

ICC operators

These operators are accountable to the ICC supervisor.

Responsibilities include:

  • completing and submitting a personal casualty bureau risk assessment to the CB manager prior to arriving at the centre
  • attending briefings and debriefings as required
  • logging all calls and messages
  • assessing the degree of likely involvement by applying the grading parameters and SIM questions as required
  • searching, creating and updating caller records as appropriate
  • searching, creating and updating, linking (where appropriate) and cancelling misper records in accordance with the SIM’s policy
  • completing forms for all other incident-related information, eg, self-reporting casualty, survivor/evacuee, in accordance with the SIM’s policy
  • searching, creating and updating vehicles
  • giving information to callers in accordance with the SIM’s policy
  • referring callers with non-CB business to the correct agency for assistance.
SIM questions

The primary objective of SIM questions is to ascertain the likelihood of a person’s involvement in the incident and to eliminate those not involved. The questions provide a basis on which to determine involvement gradings of the person believed to have been involved in an incident. They are incident-specific and designed to enable the ICC operator to make an assessment of how likely it is that the person(s) being reported has been involved in the incident.

Regular and timely reviews of, and modifications to, these questions will ensure that they continually reflect the current standing of the incident. The CB manager is responsible for ensuring that all members of the partner teams receive a current hard copy of the SIM questions, and that mutual aid forces are aware of any changes.

Casualty information unit

The casualty information unit (CIU) is activated when casualties are anticipated.

It is responsible for:

The CIU is staffed by CIU supervisors and CIU operators. It only receives casualty, survivor/evacuee information from the documentation teams, ICC or other agencies such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or local authorities as per the workflow of an ICC. This does not, however, preclude the CIU from taking calls if and when required, and in accordance with the senior identification manager‘s policy.

It is essential that staff briefings and debriefings take place, to ensure that the CIU can be activated as soon as the documentation teams are deployed and start supplying casualty information into the CB. This may begin before the public contact number is given out and the lines opened. As documentation teams are deployed, it is advisable to have a CB representative at gold level to act as a liaison officer until direct contact between the documentation teams and the CB has been established.

Where there is no requirement for a CIU, ie, there are survivors/evacuees but no casualties, the ICC unit enters the information onto CasWeb.

CIU supervisor

The CIU supervisor is accountable to the CB manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • supervising the CIU and briefing CIU operators
  • processing all paper, verbal and electronic information
  • prioritising documents in accordance with the senior identification manager‘s policy
  • ensuring that CIU operator queries receive an answer without undue delay
  • checking staff welfare
  • assessing staff levels regularly and adjusting them as required
  • referring matters to the CB manager as necessary
  • liaising with other units to ensure the timely exchange of appropriate information.

Under no circumstances should a CIU supervisor be redeployed to the ICC within the same incident.

CIU operator

CIU operators do not usually receive calls or information from the public. They only receive casualty information from the ICC, hospital documentation teams or agencies involved in the incident.

Responsibilities include:

  • searching, creating and updating casualty, survivor/evacuee records
  • recording and updating vehicle details
  • converting survivor/evacuee records to casualty record
  • converting unidentified casualty to identified casualty records
  • registering and typing messages.

Briefing and debriefing

The CB manager holds regular briefings with their receiver(s), action manager(s), supervisors and systems manager throughout the operation. This provides updates for staff as situations develop.

Briefings at the beginning of a session are essential for:

  • bringing staff up to date with current activities and changes in events
  • advising staff on the information being released and when
  • identifying any issues or concerns
  • checking staff welfare
  • emphasising standards of practice, protocol and procedures.

Debriefings include operational debriefing and welfare debriefing.

The CB manager should make every effort to conduct an operational debrief prior to a welfare debrief. It is good practice for all those involved in the incident to be included in the welfare debrief at the end of each shift. Debriefings may be disclosable in any subsequent judicial proceeding (civil or criminal) and records made can be called in evidence.

Informal team debriefs should not be considered an alternative to either the operational or welfare debriefs.

Operational debriefing

This provides the opportunity to:

  • identify areas for improvement
  • gather intelligence
  • establish good practice
  • supply situation reports
  • give praise.
Welfare debriefing

This should take place at the end of each session to:

  • review and monitor the effects that an incident is having on the team
  • manage the welfare needs of individuals
  • recognise any problems that a member of staff may be experiencing
  • agree suitable solutions.

Nominals matching unit

This is the hub of the CB. All information comes into it and, in a standard CB, all actions are raised and resulted by the nominals matching unit (NMU).

The NMU is staffed by NMU supervisorsNMU operators, CB receivers and CB action managers.

It is responsible for:

  • analysing and filtering misper, casualty, survivor/evacuee information on HOLMES CB
  • working with the CB manager to formulate, assess and prioritise a list of involvement gradings for mispers
  • identifying and raising actions requiring fast-track decision making
  • obtaining ante-mortem data
  • informing the next of kin as required by the senior identification manager
  • coordinating liaison with partner teams and the general message unit
  • maintaining and providing CB statistical information.

NMU workflow

Diagram showing the workflow of an NMU.

NMU supervisors

NMU supervisors are accountable to the CB manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • supervising the NMU and staff
  • ensuring information is passed on to NMU operators in a timely manner
  • checking staff welfare, including providing rest and refreshment breaks
  • administrating management information and reports, specifically collating statistics for assisting resourcing and media-related decisions
  • assessing staff levels regularly and adjusting as required
  • using advanced search techniques in order to qualify existing potential matches
  • managing automatic record monitoring
  • raising actions as a result of the identification process, eg, informing the next of kin
  • collating statistics as required
  • referring matters to the CB manager as necessary
  • liaising with the general message unit and partner teams to ensure coordinated actions and response
  • liaising with the ante-mortem and post-mortem coordinator for casualty information
  • liaising with other units to ensure that there is timely exchange of appropriate information.

NMU operators

NMU operators are accountable to the NMU supervisor.

Responsibilities include:

  • using advanced search techniques to access the automatic record monitoring facility
  • reviewing and investigating potential matches identified by the system
  • identifying potential matches for unidentified casualties
  • confirming or cancelling potential or no match casualty, survivor/evacuee forms against misper records in accordance with the senior identification manager’s policy
  • searching, updating and merging unmatched casualty and survivor/evacuee lists
  • searching, updating and merging matched casualty, survivor/evacuee and misper records
  • recording and updating next of kin details
  • converting unidentified casualty records to identified casualty records
  • searching and updating vehicle records
  • typing and registering messages
  • raising, viewing and updating actions in accordance with the SIM’s policy.

CB receiver

The CB receiver is accountable to the CB manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • ensuring all information received is prioritised, actioned and resolved
  • entering information and results of actions onto HOLMES CB
  • passing information to the MIR for attention
  • marking messages with actions that need to be raised
  • managing action and document queue managers
  • liaising with the general message unit and partner teams to ensure coordinated actions and response
  • attending all briefings held by the SIM or senior investigating officer (SIO).

General message unit

The requirement for a general message unit (GMU) and its workflow depend primarily on the size and nature of the incident. It responds only to actions received from the CB receiver or CB action manager.

The GMU is staffed by GMU supervisorsGMU operatorsCB receivers and CB action managers.

The unit is responsible for:

  • monitoring and managing messages raised in regard to the next of kin when survivors/evacuees have been identified
  • informing enquirers, in accordance with the senior identification manager‘s policy, when a match has been made
  • notifying the next of kin on behalf of casualties, survivors/evacuees
  • actioning all other messages as appropriate
  • coordinating the approach to liaison with both the family liaison officer and the nominals matching unit
  • making other general enquiries as directed.

GMU workflow

Diagram showing the workflow of a GMU.

 

GMU supervisors

GMU supervisors are accountable to the CB manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • supervising the GMU, including staff
  • ensuring information is managed in a timely manner
  • ensuring staff welfare, including rest and refreshment breaks
  • ensuring the next of kin are informed, in accordance with the senior identification manager‘s policy
  • producing management information, including statistics and standard reports
  • managing action queue managers and document queue managers
  • recording information and linking it to the appropriate record
  • liaising with the nominals matching unit and partner teams to ensure coordinated actions and response
  • completing actions in accordance with the SIM’s policy.

GMU operators

GMU operators are accountable to the GMU supervisor.

Responsibilities include:

  • undertaking any outstanding actions as directed by the GMU supervisor or CB action manager
  • notifying the next of kin or enquirer by the most appropriate method and in accordance with the senior identification manager‘s policy
  • searching and updating casualty, survivor/evacuee, caller and misper records, including cancellations
  • searching and updating next of kin and vehicle records
  • typing and registering messages
  • updating and resulting actions in accordance with the SIM’s policy.

CB action manager

The CB action manager is accountable to the CB manager.

Responsibilities include:

  • managing actions, including prioritisation, allocation, referral and actions pending
  • working closely with the major incident room action manager to avoid duplication of effort and any possible compromise
  • ensuring all actions are filtered through the intelligence cell, if used, prior to allocation
  • ensuring actions contain full instructions
  • ensuring the SIM and the CB manager are provided with regular progress reports on actions
  • attending briefings held by the SIM
  • liaising with the nominals matching unit and partner teams to ensure coordinated actions and response.

Page last accessed 21 September 2018