Trigger Point jargon: Expo to ECM - All the acronyms, abbreviations and codewords in the ITV bomb thriller explained

From CTSFO to SO15, we’ve pulled together this handy guide about all the acronyms, codewords and abbreviations in the ITV thriller starring Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure.

By Sophia Moir Published: 22 February 2022 - 10.49am
ITV Trigger Point key art

Line of Duty was filled with police jargon, and it’s become pretty clear that there's going to be a similar level of acronyms and abbreviations in new ITV bomb thriller, Trigger Point.

Written by new TV writer Daniel Brierley but executive produced by Jed Mercurio (who created Line of Duty), Trigger Point stars Vicky McClure (LoD's Kate Fleming) as part of the Metropolitan Police's Bomb Disposal Squad during a summer bombing campaign.

But whilst the six-part series has had fans on the edge of their seat, some have struggled to keep up with the lexicon of the show. So, we've pulled together this handy guide for you, below. You'll know your ECMs to your ELGs, and your SO15s to your RVPs in no time.

Trigger Point Lana ITV


Authorised Firearms Officer. An AFO is a police officer who is authorised to carry and use firearms. Line of Duty fans should know this one, as Fleming went undercover in the Strategic Firearms Command unit in series 2 because she was firearms trained.


Bomb Data Centre. This consists of bomb experts who carry out investigative work, such as when large quantities of bomb-making materials have been found, reports the Action on Armed Violence. The UK’s BDC is based in the Metropolitan Police, within the counter-terrorism unit at New Scotland Yard. 


Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms Officer. Eagle-eyed Trigger Point viewers may have spotted this on the armbands of certain officers. The UK’s Counter Terrorism Police Force confirms that a CTSFO is an 'armed police officer, highly trained and able to respond to any type of attack, with enhanced equipment and tactics'.


Electronic Countermeasures. A real-life piece of tech that suppresses phone signal. In Trigger Point, an innocent man is strapped to a suicide vest that had a mobile phone attached to it, which the terrorists could call to trigger the bomb remotely. The ECM suppresses signal around the device, although the terrorists were able to bypass this in the show.


Executive Liaison Group. A meeting chaired by the police but attended by MI5 (the UK's Security Service). The aim of the ELG meetings, which are 'unique to major covert terrorism investigations', is for MI5 to share secret intelligence with the police, according to BBC News.


Emergency Medicial Technician. A member of the NHS who provides emergency medical services. They have similar skills to paramedics, such as being able to assess, triage and provide life-saving treatment. 

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Explosives Officer. In Trigger Point, Lana Washington (Vicky McClure) and Joel Nutkins (Adrian Lester) are both Expos for the Metropolitan Police, having previously served in Afghanistan. According to The Telegraph, the Met’s real bomb squad is made up of ex-Army ATOs (Ammunition Technical Officers) who typically have 20 years’ experience.


Improvised Explosive Device. According to the UK Government website, an IED is a bomb which can be made from Home Made Explosives (HME). Although IEDs may be ‘home made’, they can still be as powerful as military explosives.

Pigstick Disruptor / Wheelbarrow

Water-powered piston on a robot. Pigstick is the British Army term for a 'waterjet disruptor commonly deployed on a remote controlled robot' (Wheelbarrow). It fires a jet of water to disrupt a bomb's circuitry and disable it, with a low risk of detonation. In Trigger Point, a car bomb was disarmed without detonation at the touch of a button.

Porton Down

A top secret UK government labotatory. Founded in 1916 in Wiltshire, it's the oldest chemical warfare research installation in the world. 

Trigger Point wheelbarrow ITV

Proxy device

A human bomb. A proxy device is a person who’s been compelled by terrorists to wear a bomb vest, or drive a car laden with explosives. In Trigger Point, Andy Phelan was a proxy device - he escaped from the car with a suicide bomb attached, before Lana rescued him.


Rendezvous Point. According to the Royal College of Policing, the rendezvous point (or rendezvous position) is a location to which all police and emergency services attending an incident should be directed. In an interview with The Telegraph, Simon Harding - a former police detective in the counter terrorism unit - says the IRA used to plant a bomb, wait until police cordoned off the rendevous point, then put another bomb there.


Counter Terrorism Command. SO15 is a Specialist Operations branch within London's Metropolitan Police Service. The overriding priority of SO15 is to keep the public safe and to disrupt terrorist-related activity in the UK and against UK interests overseas.


Trigger Point continues Sunday at 9pm on ITV.