Security at Deutsche Bahn

A security report for 2015 jointly published by Deutsche Bahn and the German Federal Police observes that DB trains and railway stations are safer than any other public space.

Dr. Uwe H. Wehrstedt
Senior Editor TRANSPORTSecTec



DB spends around 160 million euros a year on security. The use of CCTV is on the rise. Violence and vandalism in trains und railway stations have further decreased. In 2015 the total number of reported crimes dropped 3 per cent compared to the previous year. Vandalism, graffiti and metal theft saw a particularly sharp decline by 15 per cent. “A stronger presence of security personnel and greater use of CCTV monitoring at hotspots are paying off and making trains and railway stations ever safer places for our customers,” said DB Security Chief Hans-Hilmar Rischke on presenting the security report in Berlin.
Nevertheless, people may simply not feel as safe as they are according to the report. As an open system and public space, the railway is also the site of all conflicts and crime problems that occur in other places. The majority of all violent offences are reported in the context of events that draw huge crowds. Football matches, concerts and public festivals but also night-time party traffic at the weekend with strongly intoxicated young people travelling, lead to a surge in the statistics. 20 per cent of all criminal offences reported annually on Bavarian trains and railway stations occur at Munich’s Oktoberfest alone.
DB is particularly concerned about the number of attacks against their own personnel, which rose again last year by 20 per cent to around 1,800. Although staff are only seriously injured in exceptional cases, DB has observed an increase in aggressive behaviour.
The President of the Federal Police, Dr. Dieter Romann, pointed out: “Rioting football fans, pickpockets, vandalised ticket machines and the threat of terrorism of the past few months: The Federal Police and Deutsche Bahn are facing huge challenges right now.” Deutsche Bahn and 5,000 officers of the Federal Police are responsible for security in trains and railway stations nationwide in Germany. DB’s own security personnel has no law enforcement powers but can make a citizen’s arrest, i.e. apprehend a potential perpetrator until the police arrive.

DB invests 160 million Euros a year in security

Investments are also coming from other sources – e.g. in some regions the installation of CCTV in local trains is fully or partly financed by the federal states. The 3,700 security officers employed by DB remain the most important pillar of the security concept.
In addition to their presence, CCTV is a major factor of the security concept. Deutsche Bahn uses video technology primarily to observe and monitor operations and keep the peace. Whereas the police use it for security and law enforcement purposes. The undeniable deterrent effect of CCTV may be restricted to violent perpetrators often acting on impulse. However, images can help get the task force to the scene swiftly andexpediently, contribute important information to investigations and prosecution after a crime has been committed, and provide legally sound evidence. Hence it is important to record these images and offer them in a usable resolution. Currently, around 5,000 CCTV cameras are being used at some 700 railway stations. A further 27,000 CCTV cameras are installed in regional and local DB trains, and the number is rising. Hence, over 80 per cent of all passenger flows are recorded on camera. In addition, the use of mobile video technology and thermographic cameras has successfully reduced metal and cargo theft.
In 2013 the German ministry of the interior and Deutsche Bahn AG agreed that around 60 million euro should be invested in modernising and expanding CCTV monitoring at railway stations until 2019. In 2015 DB and the Federal Police extended the programme by ten years and increased their investment funds to 85 million. In any case, only the Federal Police have access to the images recorded on camera at the railway stations.
The Federal Police and Deutsche Bahn are planning to install the new CCTV systems together. The first station in Berlin to use the new, technically much improved video technology, is Berlin’s Ostkreuz station. In 2015 new CCTV systems were installed at 70 railway stations. Work will start on modernising and expanding the systems at the central stations of Nuremberg, Hannover, Cologne and Bremen in 2016.

Dr. Uwe H. Wehrstedt
Sunday March 26th, 2017

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