The security staff in public transport have many roles to fulfil in ensuring the security of their networks: deterrence, detection, intervention, the investigation of threats and guarding of premises often on a 24/7 basis.
In order to help support their staff, certain operators have brought in canine (K9) units, whilst others have made the decision not to. In order to understand the motivation behind using such units, as well as the resultant costs and benefits, UITP conducted a survey amongst its Security Commission members.
The study, ‘K9 Security in Public Transport Networks’ found that dogs are a real asset for deterrence in public transport networks and are valued by those that use them for their detection and tracking skills as well as their ability to deal with aggressive passengers. Dogs can also help to improve the perception of security; in Hamburg it is reported that dogs have a positive impact on staff morale whilst in Lisbon it is said that passengers react positively to the presence of police dogs in stations.
In Berlin, BVG reports that many passengers would feel harassed by the presence of dogs, whilst Munich MVG states that canine units would generate round the clock costs for limited deployment times and capacities.
Should explosives and drug detection be the responsibility of public transport companies or of the police or both? Does the presence of canine units improve the perception of security or decrease the perception of service quality? It seems there is a delicate balance in answering these questions which is very much dependent on regional specificities.
- To find out more about UITP members’ experiences using canine units in public transport networks, please click here.
- You can also discuss your own experience of canine units with other UITP members directly on MyUITP.
- For more information contact Denis Luyten, denis.luyten(at)uitp.org