Anti-terrorism security resources available from UITP

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The horrific attacks in Paris, the resulting shut-down of the metro network in Brussels, the serious stabbing incident on the London Underground and an explosion at a bus stop in Moscow, have put terrorism back in the spotlight. UITP has a variety of resources and services available to support members in the field of anti-terrorism security:

E-learning modules on security 

UITP has developed a portfolio of online training lessons which allow for bespoke training programmes on security for staff to be built. They enable a flexible learning curriculum which can be followed anytime, anywhere, without the need to assemble your team in a classroom. Ranging from general security awareness to the handling of critical situations, the lessons can help ensure operational and security staff are up to the challenge. A test access can be arranged to get a preview of the material.

Anti-terrorism workshop

The Security Commission will organise a workshop in the first quarter of 2016 focusing on the following topics:

  • Suspicious item/person procedure, bomb threat procedure
  • Decision-making procedures to shut-down and restart operations
  • Preparing for the active violence scenario

The workshop will include a table-top exercise on the active violence scenario. Details of the event will be communicated shortly, in the meantime contact Andrea Soehnchen (andrea.soehnchen@uitp.org).

Security training courses

UITP offers a range of on-demand classroom training courses on security. The available modules include the security concept, auditing, risk assessment, security staff, surveillance technology, design principles, response planning and crisis communication. Table-top exercises to practice incident response is also available with either generic scenarios (such as bomb attack or active shooter) or a scenario tailored to your network and needs.

Security peer review service

Through its extended network and by making good use of the expertise of the membership base, UITP can arrange a security peer review to help detect areas for improvement in your security concept.

Risk assessment coaching service

UITP can accompany a network through the implementation of a security risk assessment, following a tried and tested methodology.

Other security resources

A range of reports and guidelines on security-related topics are also available:

+ CD-ROM with material on request: andrea.soehnchen@uitp.org

www.mobi-uitp.org: in “advanced search–multi-criteria search” – type “PTSpotlights” in “document source”.

For more information on any of the above services, contact Andrea Soehnchen (andrea.soehnchen(at)uitp.org; +32 2 788 0110).

Killing 130 innocent victims across the city, the attack by suicide bombers and active shooters in Paris on 13 November is the deadliest incident in France since World War II. Although public transport was not directly targeted, it certainly was on 21 August 2015 when a gunman travelling on a Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris was thankfully overcome by fellow passengers before carrying out his attack. Four people were injured, none fatally. More recently, a man has been charged for attempted murder after a knife attack at Leytonstone Underground station in east London on Saturday 5 December, having stabbed three people, leaving one man with serious injuries. 

The terrorism alert level in France has been very high since the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, and since the Thalys attack even more measures have been introduced to protect public transport, including:

  • Increase of police and military presence on public transport
  • Random searches of passengers
  • Awareness campaigns to passengers and staff
  • Emergency number (3117) for passengers to report suspicious activity. The service will soon be available by SMS and from abroad
  • New government bill to extend measures to fight terrorism, to be voted in 2016, which could include:
  • Random baggage and pat-down screening for public transport passengers prior to boarding: refusal denies the right to board
  • Armed police officers to work in civilian clothes

Following the attacks on 13th November, more military presence has been deployed in stations. There is a strong police visibility on the streets and around stations. Screens, billboards and electronic passenger displays are heavily focusing on encouraging passengers to be vigilant, reminders of safety measures and the emergency contact number to report anything suspicious. It was also reported that the French government will install by the 20 December airport-style metal detectors on the Thalys platforms in Paris and Lille to screen passengers prior to boarding. It is thought the same would be implemented in Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam.

A number of other countries have increased the national threat level since the attacks, including Portugal, Czech Republic, Singapore, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Belgium. Regarding public transport in particular, many networks have heightened security whether or not the national threat levels have evolved. Typical short-term measures include increased police and/or staff presence in networks, campaigns to staff and passengers to increase vigilance and reporting. Some popular medium-term measures are likely to be the updating of certain procedures such as the treatment of suspicious objects, as well as enhanced staff training.

Despite public transport not being targeted by the Paris attacks, on the morning of Tuesday 17 November, traffic congestion in the Paris area peaked to its highest levels on record as Parisians took to their cars.

On Saturday 21 November, the alert level in Brussels was raised to level four (of four), with the authorities recommending the cancellation of concerts, sporting events, and other large gatherings, and advising the population to avoid busy places such as stations, commercial centres, airports and public transport. The metro network was closed as a precaution, with surface transport running still running. The train network was running as normal but the station Brussels-Schuman, which serves the European Institutions, was closed. By Tuesday 24 November, the situation had not changed and Brussels found itself in the unprecedented situation of lock-down for four consecutive days. Moreover, the rhetoric from the authorities changed from the metro being closed to free up security, police and military resources for more sensitive spots, and to avoid gatherings of crowds which is natural in the network, to citing public transport as a potential target itself.

Although such measures from the authorities are implemented for good reasons, and the reaction of the population as seen in Paris is understandable, a sustained modal shift from public transport to car is disastrous for cities: reduced mobility affecting the economy, increased pollution affecting the environment and public health, as well as an increase in road-traffic accidents which will increase fatalities. Even taking into account the terrorist threat, public transport is by far a safer mode of transport than the private car by a factor of ten according to a study by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Experience of previous attacks on public transport in London and Madrid tell us that passenger number recover relatively quickly after such events and we can hope that this will be the case for Paris and Brussels.

Joint the Security Interest Group on MyUITP for news on security in public transport as well as the latest services and resources available from UITP: https://my.uitp.org/groups/profile/68689/uitp-security-interest-group

  • Contact: Lindsey.Mancini(at)uitp.org

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