This past year, the UIC Security Division was able to overcome global challenges and adapt to the “new normal” of working while a pandemic raged worldwide. Being able to provide the support that UIC security platform members need during this continuing, unprecedented crisis has been a source of pride for us all. We would like to take a moment to remember all that we’ve accomplished in 2020, and what you have to look forward from us in 2021.
2020 started with some international travel and cooperation thanks to three UIC Security Division coordinated EU H2020 projects, SAFER-LC & SHERPA & PROACTIVE, having physical meetings in Madrid, London and Berlin. We didn’t yet realise that these would be some of the last times that we would get to see one another and shake each other’s hands.
In February, the security division worked closely with the UIC passenger department developing the security chapter for their upcoming book on Commuter and Regional Train Services (CRTS).
Beginning of March, the last physical meeting was held in Moscow with the Security Platform Human Factors working group chaired by RZD, with the goal to share best practices regarding management of security for major event. Guideline are being prepared and will be deliver in 2021.
A lot of effort was put into reorganising all of our lives, to adapt them to the new normal: working from home and using a multitude of online meeting platforms (zoom, gotomeeting, teams…) to continue work together. During this period, the UIC Covid-19 Task Force was born, and the security division played a key role in providing members a trusted, shared space to help one another respond to the global crisis. The security division also played an active role in the writing of several guidance documents during/for/by this Task Force.
April’s successes include the EU H2020 project SAFER-LC final conference, one of our first major events to be moved entirely online which brought together more than 180 participants from around 35 countries all over the world and was hailed as a triumph by all present, for both the information shared and the use of the new, online tools. April concluded with project PROACTIVE Covid-19 Webinar, when around 20 first line practitioners shared their operational responses to the Covid-19 crisis.
Due to continuing Covid-19 travel restrictions, and the unprecedented nature of the event, the annual Paris Security Week in June was replaced by an online workshop focusing on the impact of Covid-19 on security issues.
Later over the summer, the security platform welcomed a change in governance. PKP S.A. (Poland) was nominated as the chair of the platform, replacing Via Rail Canada, and IR-RPF (Indian Railways Protection Force) was nominated as the new vice chair.
With the autumn leaves and children returning to school in September, so too did security division members thanks to the EU H2020 project SHERPA International Training sessions. The team was also reinforced thanks to the arrival of our newest secondee, Magdalena KUJACINSKA from PKP.
In October, the SHERPA final conference took place, allowing the team to concentrate further on the newly launched EU H2020 funded project, SAFETY4RAILS, which is focusing on increasing railways’ resilience to combined cyber-physical threats. October concluded with the PROACTIVE Mid-term Conference which highlighted to more than 100 online participants that EU-funded research can foster cooperation of railway companies with public authorities and can help the rail sector be better prepared for CBRN crises.
In November, the security platform working groups were very busy, with a meeting between the New Technologies WG led by Správa železnic (Czech Republic) and the SIA (Sabotage, Intrusion, Attack) WG led by DB (Germany). The meeting focused on mobile technology solutions that can be used to protect railway premises against sabotage or intrusion.
And of course, throughout the whole year, the UIC Rail Security Hub, has been comprehensively updated with the SHERPA results and the work resulting from the different activities of the security platform:
- Register at https://railsecurityhub.org/ to get access and explore the 80 security solutions - and many other resources that are online
We were able to accomplish a great deal in 2020, despite a global context of uncertainty. The UIC Security Division worked harder than ever to fulfill its duties to its members and will continue to do so in the upcoming year! 2021 is announcing itself to be yet another unprecedented year, and we look forward to seeing you online at our upcoming events during the first half of the year and hopefully face-to-face during the second half.
If possible, the World Security Congress will be held in Paris in November 2021 as a joint online and physical event, as a main lesson learned from 2020 is that online meetings are a way to open the discussion to a much broader representation of our members from all over the world.