Following the security incident on the Thalys train on 21 August 2015 and the subsequent Ministerial meeting on 30 August, the UIC security division, invited as a permanent stakeholder member, participated in the extraordinary meeting of the LANDSEC (Land Transport Security Expert Group) organised by DG MOVE to discuss Rail Passenger Security in Brussels on 11 September 2015.
Ms Marjeta Jager, Director for Policy Coordination and Security at DG MOVE, opened the meeting. She listened to advice from experts on how to strengthen existing measures or create new ones to improve rail passenger security. She underlined the fact that security should be proportionate to the threats and that public transport needs to remain open and easily accessible.
Then the floor was given to the operators represented by CER, EIM, COLPOFER and UIC.
Jacques Colliard, head of the UIC security division together with Gerd Neubeck, vice-chair of the security platform, gave a presentation on the work carried out within the UIC security platform and its working group. Even if there is a “political” need to implement emergency measures, he underlined the risk to aggregate measures without synergies and the importance to have a long term vision and to make strategic choices regarding human factors, technology and strategy and regulation related to rail security. For railways, security is part of the business strategy and a key element to develop rail transport.
Prof. Gerd Neubeck, Chief Security Officer at DBAG, concluded with some key messages from the rail operator’s point of view:
- Need to have a comprehensive protection of all activities.
- No need to have new or stricter regulations
- Distinction to be made between safety and security
- Importance to consider the whole railway system and not only high speed rail traffic
The rail operators’ view on passenger rail security can be summarised in the following statements:
- Security of transport is a national responsibility
- The answer to a threat should be proportionate
- The airline security model cannot be transposed to rail: as an example DBAG handles more people in a week that Amsterdam Schipol in a year
- Strengthening cooperation with all stakeholders (authorities, rail operators and infrastructure managers) is needed
- Exchange of information between the operators and the police should be facilitated
- Comprehensive protection should be implemented
The manufacturer’s view was then given with the presentation of various security solutions to prevent, detect and counter the major threats to the railway sector.
The European Passenger’s Federation (EPF) gave the passenger view: security is a passenger right and the passenger’s priorities at this time are the presence of visible staff, the prevention of anti-social behaviour, and the rapid recovery from ‘incidents’. To conclude the passenger expectation could be: “I obviously expect to be safe but I don’t expect to be inconvenienced.”
DG Home’s activities relating to rail security were then presented with three main priorities for immediate EU action: tackling terrorism and preventing radicalisation (incl. “protecting critical infrastructures, such as transport infrastructures, and soft targets”), disrupting organised crime (incl. controls of firearms) and fighting cybercrime. This presentation was complemented by a presentation on Schengen rules where it was underlined that the Schengen rules don’t prohibit controls on persons in the Schengen area, and a presentation from RAILPOL on their activities as the European network of Railway Police Forces.
Finally two rail security case studies were presented: the Spanish rail security protection system and the Eurostar approach.
This morning session was followed by a restricted session for member states to debate on possible options and initiatives.
The UIC working group on strategy and regulation chaired by SNCB will hold its next meeting on 5 October in Brussels with the confirmed participation of Eurostar and Thalys, in order to address the issues discussed during this LANDSEC extraordinary meeting and to define the common cooperation work that is desirable in this area in the next future.