Information published on 20 May 2014 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 400.

6th UIC Metal Theft Working Group Meeting (14 – 15 May 2014, Vienna)

  • Security

The 6th UIC Metal Theft Working Group meeting held in Vienna, Austria on 14 and 15 May in cooperation with OBB and coordinated by Mrs Susanne Kufeld from DB AG (WG chairperson) was very positive with regard to the objectives set during the previous meetings in Berlin and Bratislava 2013.

These are part of a collaborative answer that the European rail operating community agreed to provide towards metal theft impact mitigation.

Assuming the role of facilitator the UIC Metal Theft group provides a platform to access and exchange information not just for the rail operating community also for others who are affected by this crime. Different partners come together to discuss and exchange good practice, methods and strategies to tackle what was already called “the greatest train robbery yet” (2013 Network Rail’s anti-cable theft campaign poster).

The framework was set by the published UIC Metal Theft Position Paper (November 2013 at the UIC World Security Congress) as part of the WG initial objectives. This has provided greater awareness to all involved in the work as well to other sectors (Power, Telecoms, Metal Dealers, etc.) including the EU institutions and Law Enforcement Authorities.

The combination of all these factors was in fact in itself an objective; establishing partnerships and building up a true collaborative structure was and is the main aim of the UIC Metal Theft WG DNA. Thus naturally the confirmation of the official UIC partnership with Pol-PRIMETT II by Mr Steve Welsh (project coordinator) was very well received and appreciated.

UIC through its UIC Metal Theft WG can contribute to Pol-PRIMETT as a hub to exchange good practice and a platform to create a wider information dissimination network (within the rail transport sector).

Active participation and collaboration by UIC in Pol-PRIMEET meetings and conferences is planned.

This participation includes actions on:

  • Raising awareness of metal theft and effective enforcement responses to all law enforcement organisations/agencies who are involved in the industry
  • Participation in awareness campaigns for the public
  • Information booklets for professionals (e.g. RAILPOL COPPER E-BOOK, UIC newsletter, etc.)

Moreover the UIC Metal Theft WG collaborative and cooperation activities on Railway Metal Theft mitigation will include:

  • Participation, support and collaboration with the CER Security WG
  • Participation, support and collaboration with the EIM Security WG
  • Participation support and collaboration with the UITP Security Commission
  • Participation, support and collaboration with the COLPOFER Metal Theft watch unit
  • Participation, support and collaboration with RAILPOL

The current state of play considering the mature understanding of the problem is leading to the establishment of a sustainable strategy for the work still to be done and for the WG. This strategy will be based on proven good practice (shared by Network Rail); the E-5 Strategy for tackling Metal Theft will help the WG to further set up the current framework into a biannual work programme.

The E-5 strategy general principles applied to Metal Theft on the railways are as follows:

  • Education – raising awareness of the issue and lobbying for changes and tightening the law around this issue
  • Engineering – finding effective and innovative ways of making railway cable less attractive or harder to steal
  • Enablement – offering operational methods of deterring/preventing, and better responding to incidents of metal theft
  • Enforcement – looking at ways to use the law to stifle demand and act as a deterrent to all involved in metal theft and its onward sale
  • Evaluation – making sure what we do is working and offers the best possible value for money

The UIC Metal Theft WG members and partners believe that only with a true collaborative effort can it be possible to reduce the impact of metal theft on the railways.

A detailed UIC Metal Theft WG information report will soon follow as well as details of the next meeting.

For further information please contact Jose Pires: pires@uic.org