Tuesday 28 January 2020

EU SHERPA project: Success of the two workshops on protection of public spaces held on 22 – 23 January 2020 in Berlin

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Reminder: The SHERPA project has received funding from the European Union’s Internal Security Fund Police under grant agreement No 815347. It is coordinated by UIC, started on t November 2018 and will last 24 months. It aims to improve the overall protection level for stations and trains in Europe against terrorist attacks by implementing multiple synergistic actions towards the relevant stakeholders. The SHERPA Consortium is composed of six partners: UIC, DB AG, FS SpA, PKP S.A., SNCB, and SNCF.

The fourth SHERPA workshop on “How to protect trains against terrorist threats” was organised by DB AG, on the 22 January 2020 at the headquarters of DB AG. Around 30 participants from ten countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and UK) attended this workshop, which was organised in a very interactive manner.

The objective was to share and discuss the results of a survey on technical security solutions conducted by the project consortium. Special focus was placed on the challenges and requirements when implementing such technical security solutions.
The day started with some presentations from project partners and external guests on technologies for protecting trains.

First the British Transport Police, National police force for the railways, gave some information on the organisation and some security techniques for police, such as behavioural detection, CCTV and, police dogs in general which are extensively used to protect rail passengers. They also reported on the regular exchange with the department for transport and the close cooperation with the security units of train operating companies in the UK.

Then SNCB, the Belgian railway company, presented the results of a proof of concept (POC) on an innovative scanner technology that was recently tested in Brussels midi station. The system allows for real-time screening and detection of mass-causality threats. There are still many improvements needed to deploy it in a train station.

TRENITALIA, the Italian rail passenger operator, presented various security technologies used in trains such as CCTV, an emergency number for train staff, and a mobile application to exchange information between the police and the train staff.
In Poland, beyond the use of cameras integrated in a Security Information Management System for the biggest polish stations, that also serve for access control and intrusion detection, PKP, the Polish railway company, also use some dosimetry detectors to measure the level of radiation.

ÖBB, the Austrian Railway company, gave some insights into counterterrorism and underlined the fact that the traveller’s experience should not be changed. One of the challenges that was mentioned is the use of video-surveillance systems in cross borders trains. They also presented their social media tool, which is intended to help establish contact with customers and their own staff and is used for information purposes – in particular in the case of incidents with a terrorist background.

DB AG, the German Railway company, focused on Bodycam for security staff. A Proof of Concept has been developed in some critical stations and trains in Berlin and Cologne. The involvement of trade unions, the data protection authority, police and extensive media communication to keep the public informed was key for this project.

The presentations ended with TRAFIKVERKET, the Swedish road and rail infrastructure manager. Cameras have been used in the Swedish rail environment since 2014 and mainly serve to detect intrusion in sensitive areas and give alarms to the traffic control centre. The importance of cooperation with other authorities, customer facilities and other areas of rail transport such as the manager of the station buildings, Jernhusen, was also emphasised.

The afternoon session was very interactive with lively discussion on the 13 security solutions for train protection selected by the consortium for further analysis and assessment. Some of the needs and requirements underlined by the participants focused on the following aspects:

  • Standardisation of the solutions
  • Limitation and mitigation of false alarms
  • Improvement of network coverage for data transmission in real time
  • Secure transmission
  • User-friendly systems for both staff and passengers
  • Legal requirements and especially compatibility with the General Data Protection Regulation
  • Cooperation and agreement with police, labour union, regional association…
  • Financial justification

All results regarding security solutions will be updated in the UIC Security Hub at https://railsecurityhub.org/

On the next day, 23 January, the fifth SHERPA workshop on “Raising Security Awareness & the use of Digital Media” was also held in Berlin at the DB co.lab.
During the morning session, many UIC members shared examples from their own security awareness campaigns.

FS presented its public security and anti-aggression campaign “be aware make a difference”, in which children ask potential aggressors not to touch or attack their parents. This campaign was very well received by both the public and the employees.

Focusing on staff security awareness, NS shared their “Bewust & Alert” films, which educate staff members on how to respond to left luggage.

Regarding the general public’s security awareness, PKP presented their “aware = safe” films. PKP also presented the “be aware/vade-mecum” campaign, which was launched to raise awareness of abandoned luggage after a fine was imposed on owners of such luggage.

SNCB showed their “quelque chose de suspect?” posters, which apply a humoristic approach when inciting citizens to report suspicious behaviour and items. They also showed posters from their Securail campaign.

The British Transport Police, together with Arriva, discussed both their “see it, say it, sorted” posters & train station announcements (for high risk trains, a user will hear the slogan every five minutes), which touch on the British culture by using the word “sorted”, aka taken care of, as well as their “61016” texting service for users to report crime or incidents on trains and at stations.

ARRIVA (as UITP member) presented an employee awareness campaign to deal with suspicious items and suspicious behaviour of employees and customers. In this context, it is planned to issue printed information that is to be translated into several languages. The topic of terrorist threats based on insider knowledge was also addressed.

The first afternoon session focused on the French Vigipirate security plan. A representative from the French Ministry of transport explained the Vigipirate plan and its implementation in France. While the plan itself has been around since before the 2015 terrorist attacks in France, those incidents reinforced the need to create a security culture among citizens. As one of the critical infrastructures cited in the Vigipirate plan, SNCF has had to implement various security measures. Thus, SNCF shared various security raising campaigns they have implemented for their staff, including two videos on the importance of always closing security doors and always reporting left luggage.

In the afternoon, the focus shifted more clearly to digital media. The development and application of DB’s mobile application on situations and security operations was presented. This is an app intended for DB employees and relevant security actors (such as the German Federal Police) and is not available for the general public. The main advantage of the app over previous systems is its rapidity in informing the relevant people of a crisis.

Next, the UIC Security Division reported on how to better use social media for crisis communication and shared examples from UIC members using social media to effectively communicate with the general public during a crisis. The TACT (Training, Awareness and Communication Tools) Toolbox, which gathers many best practices from the members, was also presented. It’s available on the UIC security private workspace.

The workshop successfully helped UIC members and project partners share best practice when it comes to security awareness for both staff and users.

The next related events are as follows:

  • 1 – 3 April: Three-day international training for operational security staff on security risks and crisis management both during regular services and big events (also considering cross-national interdependencies related to international services” (Rome, organised and hosted by FS)
  • 3 June 2020: Security Awareness will also be the focus of the upcoming UIC security awareness day during the Security Week taking place at UIC Headquarters in Paris, France.
  • 15 October 2020: SHERPA Final conference at UIC HQ in Paris, France

For further information on the SHERPA project please consult the website at https://sherpa-rail-project.eu/

Or contact Marie-Hélène Bonneau, coordinator of the project:


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View from the co.lab office
Various security awareness campaigns on display at the workshop