Recent criminal acts in the United Kingdom, United States and other countries have demonstrated the dangers to public safety from the criminal use of improvised explosives on a large scale. Four sets of trials were carried out over four years, partly in collaboration with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, involving the firing of large bombs, mostly fertilizer based. The principal objectives of the firings were to measure the physical effects of the explosions upon objects representative of those that would be found at a real bomb scene and to recover any chemical traces deposited on these objects. The results are intended for use as an aid in determining the approximate size and type of an explosive employed in a terrorist attack. This paper describes the background behind the trials, the procedures for preparation of witness materials and charges, and the collection and analysis of physical and chemical evidence.
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