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Cabinet Office Briefing Room A
Released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this is the only publicly available photo of the classified COBR facility.
Location London
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Purpose Crisis management centre

Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR)[1][2] refers to the location for a type of crisis response committee set up to coordinate the actions of bodies within the government of the United Kingdom in response to instances of national or regional crisis, or during events abroad with major implications for the UK. The constitution of a COBR meeting depends on the nature of the incident but it is usually chaired by the Prime Minister or another senior minister, with other key ministers as appropriate, and representatives of relevant external organizations such as the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Local Government Association.[2][3]

COBR meetings are generally held in one of the Cabinet Office buildings in Whitehall, London. Each is a secure room fitted with video and audio links able to display all intelligence information relevant to the situation under discussion. Unlike the equivalent U.S. facility, the White House Situation Room, it is only staffed during each period of use. Although it was constructed as a bunker[citation needed], it is actually on the first floor of the building and not below ground.

It is often referred to as COBRA or Cobra by the media; this relates to the acronym for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A as the meetings were usually held in Conference Room A[4] at the Cabinet Office main building at 70 Whitehall. This abbreviation is no longer used within the Cabinet Office. Official papers bear a logo based on that of the Cabinet Office with the addition of the words "Briefing Rooms".[5][6] There is no basis to the widespread story that it was originally referred to simply as "Briefing Room A" and that the words "Cabinet Office" were added to give the acronym a more virile character. In 2009, former senior police officer Andy Hayman, who sat on the committee after the 7 July 2005 London bombings and at other intervals from 2005 to 2007, was highly critical of its workings in his book The Terrorist Hunters.[7]

A single photo of COBR was released in 2010 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.[8]

In the Gold – silver – bronze command structure COBR is sometimes known as the Platinum Command.

See alsoEdit


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