Rail passenger security screening: passenger and stakeholder perceptions
|Publisher:||Department for Transport|
|Published date:||30 March 2010|
|Mode/topic:||Rail, Rail safety, Science and research|
In the aftermath of the 2005 terrorist attacks in London, the Department for Transport (DfT) carried out passenger screening trials known as the ‘LUNR trials’ (London Underground, National Rail). The trials were initiated in 2006 to explore a variety of ways in which explosives could be detected on the rail network. Research carried out in 2006 to gauge public opinion in response to these trials found attitudes to be largely positive, however on the whole passenger respondents were not willing to accept major delays to their journey or forego personal privacy as a result of security screening.
In June 2008 the British Transport Police (BTP) announced enhancements to its screening capability through the use of x-ray equipment and explosives detection dogs capable of screening moving passengers. The Department has worked closely with the BTP to assess these new measures, including monitoring the level of passenger acceptance. In 2009, DfT therefore commissioned a qualitative study to understand passenger and stakeholder perceptions towards the enhanced screening measures.
The study reinforces previous findings and found that passenger respondents were broadly accepting of the measures on their current scale. However, it also highlights the importance of passengers' personal attitudes on security and safety in determining their views and experiences of the screening measures. The police presence and screening measures were often felt to bring reassurance, and in particular the perceived 'proactive' approach of the screening was an important positive feature. For some, however, screening in stations had the potential to trigger increased fear or anxiety. Some respondents also reiterated the need to protect civil liberties and ensure screening was done in a fair way.
The insight from this research and other evidence strands will continue to inform the development of rail passenger screening to deliver a proportionate and effective rail security strategy.