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Suspicious packages and threatening phone calls: dos and don’ts

Handling suspect mail


  • Touch the item
  • Immerse in water
  • Place in a confined space
  • Carry through an office area

Remember! The article may contain hazardous material.

All Australian police services have a protocol and process to deal safely with the article – This may include a police response, bomb team attendance and fire brigade involvement.


  • Check with the addressee – was the item expected
  • Isolate the item
  • Consider evacuation of the premises
  • Consider forensic evidence, fingerprints, postmarks etc
  • Call police on
    • Emergency 000
    • Police to attend 131444
    • Protection Liaison Officers 02 61316310 (in Canberra) or
    • Local police in your state or territory

Threatening mail


  • Fold or crease the item
  • Handle the item or envelope unnecessarily
  • Immerse in water


  • Place the item in clean protective covering
    • Plastic sleeve
    • Envelope
    • Crush proof container (document to remain unfolded)
  • Identify who has handled the document and note for police
  • Call police (as above)

Threatening phone calls


  • Argue with the caller
  • Don't become angry yourself
  • Debate the issue


  • Note the nature of the threat
  • Record the words used
  • Callers name and address
  • Background noise
  • Accent, angry or sad
  • Male or female
  • Record the incoming call number if possible (caller ID)
  • Note the time and date of call


Last Updated: 11 January 2019
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