Broad Street during the bomb threat
Broad Street during the bomb threat

False alarm bomb threat in Oxford city centre

A false alarm bomb threat on the 3rd of April caused The Bodleian Library, Clarendon Building, and Hertford College to be evacuated.

The bomb threat was reported by Thames Valley Police earlier on the morning of the 3rd of April. At 10:43AM, Thames Travel tweeted that “Due to a Police incident in Broad Street in Oxford our services are currently unable to serve this area.” 

Police were seen across both Broad Street and Catte Street, cordoning off the area to students and tourists. Live CCTV footage from the Oxford Martin School Webcam showed a deserted Broad Street as police asked members of the public to avoid the area. 

Thames Valley Police stated that “We are aware of the incident in Oxford City Centre in the vicinity of Broad Street. We currently have a cordon in place and advise the public to avoid the area while the incident is being dealt with’.

A Hertford student who arrived in college at the time of the incident was told that there was a car behind the Bridge of Sighs being searched for an explosive device. A specialist dog unit was deployed by the police, as well as a bomb disposal squad from Dalston Barracks. 

Bodleian Libraries tweeted: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Old Bodleian Library and Weston Library are currently closed.” The Weston Library took further measures, taking an important readers’ card container from the special collections reading room.

Author Ali Mercer was in Blackwell’s bookshop and asked not to leave the building along with staff and customers. She tweeted at 10:40AM: ‘’I’m in @blackwelloxford and we’ve been asked by the police not to leave the building… there’s a cordon on Broad Steet and we’re inside it. It is of course one of the best possible places int the world to be locked in…’ 

By 11:58AM, Thames Valley Police announced that they were “in a position to confirm that no device was located and the cordons have now been lifted’. At 11:59AM, the Domestic Bursar of Hertford College sent an email to all students and staff stating that the “security incident which prompted the evacuation of the College this morning has been terminated. The College has reopened”. 

This story is ongoing and may be updated to reflect changing circumstances.