Sector Risk Report: Public Transport
As one of a series of focused sector risk reports, Pool Re SOLUTIONS, has examined the evolving threat to the Public Transport sector from terrorism. This report will be of particular interest to operators and responsible persons who manage or operate in the public transport sector including risk managers, security personnel and those organisations and advisors to them.
The Pool Re SOLUTIONS Risk Consulting team has prepared this report through open-source analysis paired with our in-house actuarial data and confidential interviews with leading experts in the public transport sector.
- The threat of terrorism persists outside of well-protected sites in major urban areas. As such, more attention should be given to potentially less secure sites in suburban areas.
- As noted by Counter Terrorism Policing in April 20211, the easing of lockdown measures could provide a greater opportunity for terrorists to operate, potentially leading to a surge in attacks, exacerbated by increased radicalisation during the pandemic.
- Public transport nodes will be some of the first crowded places to return and represent easy to access targets for terrorist actors using low complexity methodologies, making them a possible target for future attacks.
- A terrorist attack against public transport infrastructure can have short-term negative impacts of local economies and public confidence. These negative effects would be particularly damaging as the economy begins to recover post-COVID.
- The Protect Duty consultation may lead to greater responsibilities being placed on owners and operators and those businesses that operate around transport hubs, requiring them to do more to understand and mitigate the threat of terrorism to their operations and businesses.
- The threat to the sector mainly stems from Islamist actors, although violent dissident republicans and elements of the far-left have shown some intent to target public transport infrastructure.
- Terrorists will continue to mostly utilise low sophistication methodologies, such as bladed weapons, in attacks on public transport, because they are quick to plan, easy to execute and hard to prevent.
- More sophisticated methodologies, such as bombings, cannot be ruled out for terrorists seeking to cause mass casualties.
- Terrorist attacks on public transport can have wider ranging effects than just property damage and business interruption. An attack can lower public confidence in using public transportation immediately following an event and this can have economic impacts beyond the sector.
- Resilience against terrorism within the sector varies greatly. Major train stations in urban areas are better secured against suburban or rural areas. All but the largest bus stations are generally less well secured.
On 10th January 2022, the Minister for Security and Borders at the Home Office, Damian Hinds MP, released a report summarising the findings from the public consultation for the proposed Protect Duty legislation that will require owners and/or operators of Publicly Accessible Locations (PALs) to take appropriate and proportionate measures to protect the public from terrorist attack.
On Sunday 14 November, an explosion occurred in a taxi outside the reception entrance of Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Emad al Swealmeen, the bomber, was the only fatality. The driver of the taxi, who escaped the vehicle immediately after the detonation, suffered minor injuries and was the only other casualty. There was no reported damage to the hospital.
On 15 October 2021, Sir David Amess MP, a British Conservative politician, was stabbed and killed in a premeditated attack at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea.