Easing of lockdown heralds return of passengers and increased terrorism risk, Pool Re warns

Pool Re has warned that the lifting of lockdown restrictions and increased passenger numbers heralds the return of crowds and, with it, the potential for terrorist attacks. The transport sector remains an attractive target due to the high concentration of potential victims and the low complexity of planning required to cause mass terror.

Security on public transport infrastructure is the focus of Pool Re’s inaugural Sector Risk Report, which warns of the short-term impact on local economies and public confidence at a time when the economy is beginning to recover post-pandemic.

Counter-terrorism police have made a number of warnings of the increasing threat of self-radicalisation during lockdown and the return to crowded spaces may present a target which has not been present for over a year.

Pool Re has urged policymakers to consider public awareness campaigns, as well as to review and update contingency plans to mitigate the evolving risk from terrorist attacks on public transport infrastructure.

Ed Butler, chief resilience officer, said: “Whilst the threat from an attack remains substantial, we know that better understanding leads to better preparation. We believe this report will be of significant value to those who manage or operate in the public transport sector including risk managers, security personnel and those organisations and advisors to them.

“Our Solutions division is dedicated to helping organisations and businesses reduce vulnerability, risk and susceptibility. Our priority is to increase resistance and resilience to terrorism. We provide organisations the means to support them to identify vulnerabilities and implement mitigation strategies, before, during, and after a crisis, using a bespoke blend of intelligence, tools and techniques.

“These reports provide a detailed picture of the threat and vulnerabilities to a range of sectors, some part of our critical infrastructure such public transport, retail and hospitality, energy, and public services. They examine why and how attacks might be conducted, the potential impact of such attacks, common vulnerabilities and an evaluation of effective risk mitigation measures.”

The Home Office’s Protect Duty Consultation may lead to greater responsibilities being placed on owners and operators as well as those businesses that operate around transport hubs. They may be required to do more to understand and mitigate the threat of terrorism to their operations and businesses, which could raise challenges given that current resilience against terrorism within the sector varies greatly. The consultation ends on 2nd July 2021.

Image courtesy TfL

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