Friday 2 October 2020

EU SHERPA project: third international training session on terrorism threats and awareness held online on 30 September

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Note: The SHERPA project has received funding from the European Union’s Internal Security Fund - Police under grant agreement no. 815347. Coordinated by UIC, the project began on 1 November 2018 and will run for 24 months. Its objective is to improve the overall protection level for stations and trains in Europe against terrorist attacks by implementing multiple synergistic actions aimed toward the relevant stakeholders. The SHERPA Consortium is composed of six partners: UIC, DB AG, FS SpA, PKP S.A., SNCB, and SNCF.

Following two sessions dedicated to transport sector threat analysis and crisis management and business continuity, a third SHERPA training session was held on 30 September and focused on Terrorism threats and awareness.

The first presentation of the day was given by PRORAIL (Dutch infrastructure manager), the chair of the COLPOFER Working Group on Antiterrorism and Extremist Activities. Public transport, especially trains and stations, are frequent targets for terrorists, and PRORAIL has therefore developed various awareness programmes for staff. One of its programmes is for all staff, and focuses not only on terrorism but also suicide and pickpocketing or other petty crime, the aim being to increase awareness and learn how to behave in the event of such events. Another, more in-depth programme has been designed for security staff. These programmes combine both theory and practical exercises.

FS and SNCF later provided an overview of cybersecurity in the rail sector. Numerous actions are taken at FS to raise staff awareness on the basic rules to be applied. For example, short video tutorials are presented to explain how to use mobile devices securely. Cybersecurity is also a priority for SNCF. The human factor is very often the weakest link; staff awareness and appropriate processes are therefore essential. A short video demonstrated social engineering in a very realistic way.

The session ended with a presentation given by the British Transport Police (BTP) on operational deployment of behavioural assessment. After the 7/7 London bombings, BTP developed a programme to raise awareness of crime and terrorism, which is under constant review. BTP works closely with rail staff, providing security awareness training, regular briefings and security advice.

This session demonstrated that raising awareness is a key element of a security strategy. It can be helpful and can make the difference in preventing all kind of threats, from petty crime such as pickpocketing to major attacks that may be physical or virtual. Although the police play a key role in this respect, awareness is crucial and both staff and the general public need to know how to behave. This must be part of everyone’s culture.

This third session was the final SHERPA international training session organised by FS together with the other SHERPA partners. Each session was attended by around 45 participants and was very fruitful thanks to contributions from high-level speakers and the many questions raised by the participants.

The next key SHERPA event will be the final conference, to be held online on 15 October from 10 am to 4 pm.

For further information on the SHERPA project, please visit the website:

Alternatively, please contact Marie-Hélène Bonneau,

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