SAFE BUS Knowledge Event in The Hague emphasises need of cooperation between transport and security services
On 8 November 2022 SAFE BUS organised its third Knowledge Exchange in The Hague, meant to facilitate discussions between security services and the public transport sector on best practices and challenges on safety and security in public bus networks.
The day consisted of two parts. In the morning, the floor was given to sectors representatives allowing them to share experiences and best-practices, while the afternoon gave opportunity for further discussion among participants. These discussions ultimately aim to provide feedback on SAFE BUS deliverables including the handbooks and training.
After an opening word by Arriva NL, the Regional Minister of Mobility and Public Transport of Zuid-Holland (the Netherlands), Frederik Zevenbergen, emphasised once more the essence of safety and security to keep our sector moving: ‘Security is in the eye of the beholder – it is our job to make everyone feel safe on public transport.’
Presentations by guests covered a large range of topics. TfL (Transport for London) shared how their Bus Action Plan has contributed to a more secure bus network and how the right communication campaigns can increase the number of reports by passengers on suspicious activity. After, ARRIVA NL dove deeper into their Immobiliser Project: the solution that prevents a vehicle from starting unless a correct key is used.
SAFE BUS was also happy to welcome the Dutch Police, who explained how they are countering international trafficking of people and suspicious items on the international routes of operator Flixbus. The final presentation of the day was by NATO, who discussed their DEXTER (Detection of EXplosives and firearms to counter TERrorism) project and the Big City Trial in Rome.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the first project workshop and kicked off with a survey that gathered feedback from attendees on the format and content of the planned SAFE BUS handbooks and e-trainings. The second session was a thematic discussion in smaller groups touching upon the topics of cooperation, new threats, insider threat, and recommendations.
Very valuable recommendations were suggested during the discussion. The key need to have a direct local contact with law enforcement was raised multiple times, emphasising the requirement of being able to act swiftly and contact the right person in emergency cases. Protocols also have to be simple and clear and aligned between different regional bodies. Another point raised was the need to provide the correct support and calibrate trainings to discern and confront any unconscious bias people can have in their “gut feeling”.
Curious to know more about counterterrorism training for bus drivers and managers? SAFE BUS will release its handbook with guidelines on how to advance safety and security in public bus networks, including practical tips, tricks and tools in May 2023. Stay tuned!
SAFE BUS would like to thank all guests and participants for their valuable input and efforts!
This project was funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund – Police, under the Grant Agreement No. 101034233