Railway security in Europe, part three
The whole debate about strengthening surveillance on trains is going nowhere – unless it is decided to post armed guards or police officers on those trains, like in the United States, which could be a sort of deterrent (wrote former French intelligence agent Claude Moniquet).
[Viewpoint: New anti-terror approach needed after France train attack, Claude Moniquet, BBC, 23 Aug 2015]
[…] Trains go from point A to point B with some (or lots) of stations in between. Can you imagine each station having scanners and checkpoints? Can you imagine turning up at train stations one or two hours before departure, like at airports? Of course not. And even if it did happen, the threat could switch to other targets: buses, tramways, underground, stores, theatres, restaurants, bars, churches and sporting events. Could we equip all these places with scanners and checkpoints? The answer is obvious.
Actually, the whole debate about strengthening surveillance on trains may not be going too far, even if armed guards were posted on trains.
Suppose a plain clothes ‘rail marshal’ were assigned to each Thalys service. What would be the probability of that marshal being in the right place on the train to make an effective intervention in the event of a terrorist incident?