Public transport and facilities remain an attractive target for terrorists as passengers return, warns Pool Re

Pool Re has published a report focusing on public transport and facilities, which reveals the sector remains an attractive target for terrorists because of the high concentration of potential victims and the low complexity of planning required to cause mass terror.

Among its key findings, the report notes that due to the reduction in lockdown restrictions, increasing passenger numbers herald the return of crowds and the potential for an attack. 

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

Additionally a terrorist attack against the public transport infrastructure could have a short-term impact on local economies and public confidence, which could be particularly damaging as the economy begins to recover post-Covid-19.

As part of its commitment to improve the UK’s resilience to terrorism, Pool Re 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.

Moreover, the Protect Duty Consultation (due to close on 2 July 2021) 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.