Training call over rail security by transport committee

Maintenance work on railway tracks The committee said security on the railways should be under constant review

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Rail staff should be better trained to deal with security incidents, an influential group of MPs has said.

The Commons Transport Committee said there were concerns about consistency of the preparation for such events.

The MPs said railway employees should have "an understanding of potential threats, risks, preventative measures and incident management".

The Department for Transport said staff involved with security were given "sufficient" training.

'Lack of enthusiasm'

The committee considered whether there was more room for EU involvement in security for road and rail travel.

The UK's current approach to land transport security was said to be working well but the MPs highlighted the issue of staff training.

Their report added: "There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm, both from government and industry, for further EU involvement in relation to land transport security, not least because the government was concerned that action at EU level might result in the levelling down of existing security measures in the UK."

Committee chairman Louise Ellman said it was "essential that we constantly review the most effective means of keeping people safe and combating crime".

"Neither industry nor government showed enthusiasm for greater EU involvement. But it is important for the government to push for greater action at a national level to address problem areas including the co-ordination of security measures at EU borders," she said.

'Clear standards'

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, said staff and budget cuts were "the greatest threat to safety and security on Britain's railways".

He said: "You can't dump safety and security-critical staff and still expect to meet the kind of standards the public rightly expect on our railways."

The Department for Transport said the safety of the travelling public was "paramount"

A spokesman said: "The government sets clear security standards for the rail industry to meet, based on the current threat.

"Staff with a security element in their role are required to undergo sufficient training which includes awareness of threats, recognition of suspicious articles and how to respond to incidents.

"In addition, the National Railways Security Programme recommends that domestic rail operators have contingency plans for responses to security incidents, which must be covered in staff training programmes."

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