The second meeting of the UIC Security Platform’s “Metal Theft” Working Group, chaired by Mr Christian Fortier, SNCF, and vice-chaired by Mr Miroslav Zeman, ZSR (the Slovak infrastructure manager), was held on 11 June 2012 at UIC HQ in Paris.
At the meeting, the French Gendarmerie gave a keynote presentation on the need to preserve evidence in the event of infrastructure being attacked or vandalised, or cables and other metals being stolen, and how the evidence of such events can be conserved. The need to reopen installations to service as soon as possible must not interfere with the requirements of the police, gendarmerie or other parties involved in preparing judicial proceedings in instances where prosecution of the culprits is possible. The training received by the technical railway staff accessing these sites in the immediate aftermath of an incident must therefore include an understanding of the requirements of subsequent judicial investigations. This presentation followed on from that given to the working group’s previous meeting on the organisational setups and motives of the organised international criminal gangs which derive significant illegal revenue from the theft of copper and other railway metals.
Based on some significant work by Network Rail (Mr Peter Guy), the working group decided to define its precise mandate, which will then be validated at its next meeting, to be held around the same time as the UIC World Security Congress in Bratislava from 24 - 26 October 2012.
On behalf of the Indian Railways – Railway Protection Force, Mr Ray highlighted the global nature of the problem.
In addition, the UIC Security Division and the CER CER Community of the European Railways Infrastructure Interest Group are to urge the European Commission to act on the issue of metal theft, highlighting the need for a more coordinated European response on the subject.
Lastly, the working group examined two technical solutions put forward by suppliers, one an anchoring system for underground cables helping deter thieves from trying to steal them; the other an electronic, computer-based system providing more precise, real-time information on the date and location of interference with certain cables. This allows thefts to be detected prior to a train passing through the affected site, with the associated consequences on traffic safety and punctuality.
The working group remains open to any other UIC members wishing to participate, and will meet again for the next time in Bratislava either during or alongside the Security Congress in October 2012.