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Blue Lights: what does OOB mean in Belfast drama? Terminology explained

OOB means Out of Bounds in Blue Lights - find out more…


Sian Brooke in Blue Lights
18 April 2023
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Blue Lights has been the police procedural drama that everyone has been talking about over the past few weeks. The story follows a g group of rookie police officers as they attempt to pass their probation in Belfast, while dealing with criminal gangs, death threats and more. However, there is one abbreviation that comes up time and time again. So what does OOB mean in the show? Find out here… 

OOB stands for 'out of bounds', and refers to areas of the city that police officers are not allowed to go into as they have been deemed to be too dangerous, often due to gang violence.

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According to 2022’s Restricted Patrolling and Out of Bounds Areas corporate policy, the restrictions are "carefully considered" with activity being "measured and proportionate". It reads: "Areas within Northern Ireland can either have patrolling restrictions imposed on them (Restricted Patrolling), or be placed Out of Bounds (OOB), which will apply to police, police staff, police contractors and other agencies. 

Blue Lights' kneecapping scene shocked viewers© BBC
Blue Lights' kneecapping scene shocked viewers

"The District Commander decides who needs to know and how they should be informed. The onus of checking if an area is subject to Restricted Patrolling conditions or, is OOB, remains firmly with the individual intending to visit that area." 

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The document continues: "Areas placed OOB should, where possible, be kept as small as possible, for the smallest amount of time as possible, to enable routine local policing. The District Commander will ensure that the requirement to have an area placed OOB is current and relevant. 

Gerry Cliff (Richard Dormer) & Stevie Neil (Martin McCann) in Blue Lights© BBC
Gerry Cliff (Richard Dormer) & Stevie Neil (Martin McCann) in Blue Lights

"OOB areas must be placed in bounds as soon as it is deemed safe and operationally feasible to do so. It is recognized that on occasions there may be an operational necessity, or an Article 2 issue, whereby it is necessary to enter an OOB area." 

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