Tuesday 8 October 2019

EU SHERPA project: Third workshop on “How to protect stations against terrorist threats” held from 1 – 2 October 2019

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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 1 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 6 partners: UIC, DB AG, FS SpA, PKP S.A., SNCB, and SNCF.

The third SHERPA workshop on “How to protect stations against terrorist threats” was held from 1 – 2 October at the headquarters of PKP, leader of the fourth technical work package. Around 50 participants from nine countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and USA) attended this workshop which was organised in a very interactive manner.
The main objective of this workshop was to share experiences on solutions to better protect stations and discuss on existing and innovative security technologies and processes (including fostering cooperation with other stakeholders such as police, first responders…).

After a brief overview given by Marie-Hélène Bonneau (Head of the UIC Security Division and SHERPA project coordinator) on the first results achieved in the project, the Commander of the Polish Railway Security Guard (SOK) – Paweł Boczek gave a presentation about the SOK activities for ensuring security in the area of railway stations. At the end of his presentation, he showed a film prepared for the 100th anniversary of the SOK’s creation. Within the SOK there is a special unit called Operational and Intervention Group (GOI), which surprised all participants after the film by entering the room in full uniform and armament.

Then Prof. Maria Haberfeld (John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York), focused on “Security Measures for the New York City Railway Systems – Operational and Tactical Analysis of What’s in Place and What Should be Done”.

Prof. Gerd Neubeck (Deutsche Bahn AG, Corporate Security) focused on intelligent camera systems and video analytics. A joint test of Deutsche Bahn AG and the German Federal Police is ongoing at the Berlin Südkreuz station. He underlined that the use of intelligent video technology is helpful, but it does not replace the presence of local security personnel. Moreover, the physical presence of security personnel also contributes significantly to the passengers feeling of security.

The afternoon session was dedicated to the solutions implemented in Poland for protecting the stations ranging from the measures used in the railway Station Security Centre such as dosimetric detectors, intrusion alarm systems etc. to the crisis management system using a solution called SMS Alert that can be widely used to alert the public to risks. In addition, an external expert reiterated the challenge to implement necessary measures, without giving up the open nature of railway station.

During the interactive session, Mr Stefano De Muro, Technical Area Manager at FS security department, explained the results of a research on the mitigation of the effects of an explosion in a station with several levels.

Mr Radoslaw Olszewski, representative of the EU Commission, DG Migration and Home Affairs, also attended the workshop. His presentation focused on the assessment of vulnerability as well as the detection of explosives and protective measures which must be constantly adapted and innovated.

The workshop was supplemented by a technical visit to the very impressive and effective Railway Security Centre of the PKP. Participants gained insight into the work of people accessing hundreds of cameras and other observation and surveillance systems at train stations across Poland. As soon as something is observed or detected, PKP security staff or, if necessary, the authorities will be informed. A very fast intervention can be guaranteed.

The next steps are as follows:

  • 20 – 22 November 2019: Informative session on SHERPA during the 16th UIC Security Congress (Prague, SZDC) focusing on “Security and Safety of Stations”
  • 22 January 2020: Workshop (WS4) on “How to protect trains against terrorism threats” (Berlin, organised and hosted by DB)
  • 23 January 2020: Workshop (WS5) on “Define best practice on the use of digital media for raising security awareness among the public of customers” (Berlin, organised and hosted by DB)
  • 25 – 27 March 2020: Three-day international training (T1) 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)

For further information on the SHERPA project please consult the website:

Or contact Marie-Hélène Bonneau, Head of the UIC Security Unit:

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