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Tackling extremism in the workplace

Rail operators and security agencies discussed the measures they are taking to identify individuals who have expressed extremist views within their organisations during UIC Security Week.

The four-day event, which was held at UIC’s headquarters in Paris between June 6 and 9, discussed the security threats facing railways around the globe.

A recurring topic involved the measures some companies are imposing to try and identify individuals who hold potentially dangerous extremist views.

It is a subject which has come into focus following the Borough Market attacks in London in June. It has since emerged that one of the attackers, Khuram Butt, had previously worked for Transport for London (TfL) for a period in 2016.

Speaking at the conference on 7 June, Julien DuFour, Commissaire de Police, General Directorate of the French National Police, spoke about how new legislation in France has given organisations new powers to investigate, and/or dismiss, land transport staff that could pose a security risk. A special police unit has been set up to run checks on behalf of the companies, the Service des Enquetes Administratives de Sécurité.

Staff could be radicalised before or after they join the company, Julien acknowledged, posing a particular risk to the rail network, which doesn’t impose the same level of security checks as air transport, for example.

Julien explained how ‘Le Roux – Savary’, the Savary law, has provided new tools for combatting fraud and reinforcing security, while clarifying the intervention framework, notably for RATP and SNCF. He also pointed out that since November 2016, SNCF and RATP security staff have been authorised to carry 9mm pistols.

Speaking later in the day, Marc Beaulieu from Via Rail Canada explained the ways in which the company is using staff training to raise awareness of the expression of violent extremism views within the workplace.

The programme has been incorporated into VIA’s security training and has been developed in partnership with the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalisation Leading to Violence (CPRLV). It helps staff to identify alarming behaviour and know when to report it.

In addition, VIA has introduced a mental health programme in order to help prevent staff from becoming isolated and, as a result, more vulnerable to radicalisation.

Read more: Would anyone hack a railway? 


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