Reporte sobre la protección del transporte público de superficie de los crímenees y del terrorismo

a publication of the
Mineta Transportation Institute
College of Business
San José State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0219
Created by Congress in 1991
MTI Report 01-07
Protecting Public Surface Transportation Against
Terrorism and Serious Crime:
Continuing Research on Best Security Practices
September 2001
Brian Michael Jenkins
Larry N. Gersten
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Protecting Public Surface Transportation Against Terrorism and
Serious Crime: Continuing Research on Best Security Practices
Brian Michael Jenkins and Larry N. Gersten
This research was sponsored financially by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and
Special Programs Administration and by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
Assaults on public surface transportation systems have continued to take place worldwide without any
indication of abatement. This study continues earlier research on best security practices. It examines
security practices in effect at public surface transportation facilities in Tokyo and London—both
targets of terrorist attacks—and in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Santa Clara Valley of
California. It updates the chronology contained in the previous report and adds an annotated
bibliography.
terrorism, public transportation,
buses, violence, safety
September 2001
01-07
65W136
122 $15.00
To order this publication, please contact the following:
Mineta Transportation Institute
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Copyright © 2001 by MTI
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Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2001095733
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Generous assistance was provided by many agencies for the case studies in this report. In the
United Kingdom, particular thanks are owed to the Department of Environment, Transport and
Regions, the British Transport Police, the Metropolitan Police, and the National Terrorist Crime
Prevention Unit. For the Tokyo study, the authors thank the Tokyo Rapid Transit Authority/
Agency (TEITO or Eiden Lines) and the Transportation Bureau of Metropolitan Tokyo
Government (TOEI).
The authors appreciate the assistance provided by Chief of Security Raymond Frank and BART
Police Chief Gary Gee of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation (VTA) and the San Francisco Bay
Area Rapid Transit District (BART) respectively.
The authors acknowledge the following individuals for assistance in the publication of this
document. Thank you to Dr. Frances Edwards-Winslow, MTI Research Director Trixie Johnson,
Research and Publications Assistant Sonya Cardenas, Graphic Designer Ben Corrales, Editorial
Associates Robyn Whitlock and Irene Rush, and student graphic design assistant Shun Nelson.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
ONGOING RESEARCH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
NEWFINDINGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
THE UNITED KINGDOM’S RESPONSE TO THE
IRA’S TERRORISM CAMPAIGN AGAINST
MAINLAND SURFACE TRANSPORTATION . . . . . . 7
THE UNDERGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
LIGHT RAIL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
LONDON’S BUSES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
UNITED KINGDOM RAIL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
THE IRA’S TERRORIST CAMPAIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
THE SECURITY ORGANIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
INCREASED SECURITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
RESPONDING TO BOMB THREATS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
APPENDIX A: CHRONOLOGY OF IRA TERRORIST
ATTACKS ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN
ENGLAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
APPENDIX B: BRITISH SECURE STATIONS SCHEME:
MANAGE AND DESIGN TO CUT DOWN CRIME . . . . . . . . 29
Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Best Practices Across Britain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Government Research Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Perceptions of Safety fromCrime on Public Transport . . . . . 32
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
THE VALLEY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY . . . 35
OVERVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
CONCERNS AND STRATEGIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
SECURITY ORGANIZATION AND PERSONNEL . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
SECURITY AND DETECTION TECHNOLOGY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT AND PROCEDURES . . . . . 39
PERSONNEL TRAINING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
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TERRORISM? WHAT TERRORISM? BART AND VTA
COMPARED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
THE BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT DISTRICT . . . . . . . 41
OVERVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
MAINTAINING VIGILANCE AGAINST SURFACE
TERRORISM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
CRISIS MANAGEMENT STRATEGY—PERSONNEL AND
PROCEDURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
COORDINATEDRESPONSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
PREVENTIVEMEASURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Security Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Psychological Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Police Patrols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Stations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Cameras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Security on Trains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Secured Perimeters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Vulnerability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
THE TOKYO, MARCH 20, 1995, SUBWAY SARIN
ATTACK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
TOKYO’S SUBWAYS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
AUMSHINRIKYO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
EXPERIMENTSWITHEXOTICWEAPONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
THE ATTACK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
THE IMMEDIATE RESPONSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
FURTHER INCIDENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
LESSONS LEARNED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
ISSUES RAISED DURING THE ATTACK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
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A CHRONOLOGY OF RECENT TERRORIST
ATTACKS AND OTHER SERIOUS INCIDENTS
OF CRIME INVOLVING PUBLIC SURFACE
TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS (JULY 1, 1997 –
DECEMBER 31, 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
RECENT CHRONOLOGY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
CONCLUSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
HISTORICAL REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
CULTURAL VALUES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
GOVERNMENT ARRANGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
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LIST OF FIGURES
1. Targets of Attacks on Public Surface Transportation Systems
(1920 – 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
2. Tacticts Used Against Public Transportation Systems
(1920 – 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
3. Targets of Attacks on Public Surface Transportation Systems
(July 1997 – December 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
4. Tactics Used Against Public Transportation Systems
(July 1997 – December 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
5. Location of Attacks with Fatalities on Public Surface
Transportation Systems (July 1997 – December 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . 73
6. Location of Attacks with Fatalities on Public Surface
Transportation Systems (1920 – 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
7. Countries with the Most Fatalities in Attacks on Public Surface
Transportation Systems (July 1997 – December 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . 74
8. Countries with the Most Fatalities in Attacks on Public Surface
Transportation Systems (1920 – 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
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Introduction
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INTRODUCTION
Terrorist attacks on commercial aviation had declined significantly after
reaching a high point in the 1970s. The devastating consequences of the four
coordinated hijackings and deliberate crashes of three of the planes into the
World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on
September 11, 2001—an event unprecedented in the annals of terrorism—have
wiped out all sense of progress and focused national attention on aviation
security. Meanwhile, terrorists have continued to attack public surface
transportation worldwide with no indication of abatement in these attacks.1
With large-scale indiscriminate violence clearly the reality of contemporary
terrorism and growing concerns that terrorists might use chemical and
biological weapons, to which public transportation systems are extremely
vulnerable, the threat has increased.
Surface transportation systems cannot be protected as easily as airplanes,
which are housed in fairly closed and reasonably controlled locations;
additionally, the airport terminal access to airplanes is controlled by relatively
few entry points. Conversely, trains, buses, and light rail systems must remain
readily accessible, convenient, and inexpensive for the traveling public.
There are other differences between surface and air transport. Unlike airplanes,
which make relatively few passenger transfers, trains and buses make
numerous stops along vast open and penetrable corridors. Passenger profiling,
passenger screening, and the elaborate deployments of metal detectors, X-ray
machines, explosives sniffers, hand searchers, and armed guards that have
become features of the passenger landscape at airports cannot be transferred
easily to subway stations, bus stops, or light rail platforms. The delays would
be enormous and the costs prohibitive. The same open targets that permit
penetration serve as easy conduits for escape by assailants. Surface
transportation lines, like power lines and pipelines, are extremely difficult to
protect.
Open to relatively easy penetration, trains, buses, and light rail systems offer
an array of vulnerable targets to terrorists who seek publicity, political
disruption, or high body counts. High concentrations of people in relatively
1 Terrorism can be defined as premeditated, politically motivated violence or deliberate threats
of violence against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually
intended to influence an audience. Terrorist attacks are, of course, crimes, but crime in the
context of this report refers to ordinary crimes such as murder, assault, extortion, etc.
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crowded quarters are inviting fodder for those who would cause mayhem and
death. The massive amounts of explosives needed for truck bombs are
unnecessary in crowded train stations, bus depots, carriages, or coaches. Even
without large numbers of casualties, disruptions to transit can seriously impact
a region’s economy and the public’s faith in the government’s ability to
provide basic protections to its citizens.
Such conditions do not mean that authorities are without tools of their own.
Transportation operators and security officials in areas that have been
subjected to terrorist attacks have developed some effective security
countermeasures. No security system can stop determined terrorists from
setting off bombs, biological weapons, or chemical reactions in public places.
Nevertheless, good security measures can make terrorist operations more
difficult, increase the terrorists’ likelihood of being detected and identified,
keep casualties and disruptions to a minimum, reduce panic, and reassure
alarmed passengers in a crisis.
ONGOING RESEARCH
For the past five years, the Mineta Transportation Institute at San José State
University has led a continuing research program focusing on the security of
public surface transportation against terrorist attacks and other serious violent
crimes. The effort began with a surface transportation terrorism symposium
held in 1996, which brought together security experts from transportation
entities, law enforcement, and other government agencies. Their discussions
were published by the Institute in Terrorism in Transportation—A Symposium
(San Jose: Norman Y. Mineta International Institute for Surface Transportation
Policy Studies, March 1996).
The following year, the Mineta Institute launched a more formal research
program aimed at identifying the best security practices. The initial phase of
this effort included four case studies that reviewed transportation security
measures in Paris, Atlanta, New York, and on the Amtrak rail system. The Paris
case study focused on the immediate aftermath of the 1995 terrorist bombing
of a commuter rail station in Paris. The Atlanta case study examined the
security preparations connected with the 1996 Olympics and the aftermath of
the Centennial Park bombing. The Amtrak case study focused on the response
to the deliberate derailing of the Sunset Limited in November 1995. New York
was included because of the size and complexity of its system and the incidents
and threats that affected it in the 1990s, including the 1993World Trade Center
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bombing and the 1997 terrorist plot to carry out suicide bombings on the city’s
subways.
In addition to the case studies cited above, Phase I of the research reviewed the
security measures employed by nine other transportation systems in the United
States, ranging from small rural bus systems to larger multimodal operations.
A chronology and analysis of terrorist attacks on surface transport from 1920
to mid-1997 and an annotated bibliography completed the research effort. The
results of the examination were published in Brian Jenkins, Protecting Surface
Transportation Systems and Patrons from Terrorist Activities: Case Studies of
Best Security Practices and a Chronology of Attacks (San Jose: Norman Y.
Mineta International Institute for Surface Transportation Policy Studies,
December 1997).
NEW FINDINGS
Phase II of the research has continued to the present time and is reported upon
in this study. It comprises four case studies: the 1995 sarin attack on Tokyo’s
subways, the United Kingdom’s response to the IRA’s terrorist campaign
against British surface transportation, and security at the Bay Area Rapid
Transit District and the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority. The chronology
that began in Phase I has been brought forward to the end of the 2000 calendar
year; the annotated bibliography has been updated.
Taken together, this and the earlier two volumes give a comprehensive review
of surface transportation security. The case studies cover 14 transportation
systems in the United States plus those in Japan, France, and the United
Kingdom, yielding a truly global perspective on what has become a global
threat to travelers and citizens alike.
The last three case studies were included because they offer an opportunity to
examine security and crisis management at transportation systems that have
been the targets of major terrorist attacks. Each system experienced a
completely different threat. The United Kingdom had to cope with a longrunning
terrorist campaign aimed at causing major disruption and occasionally
some casualties. France confronted a terrorist campaign aimed at causing
heavy casualties. Tokyo’s subways saw the first large-scale terrorist use of a
chemical weapona possibility of growing concern in other parts of the
world. There have been more attacks and a greater number of casualties in
places like India and Pakistan, but the experiences of the United Kingdom,
France, and Japan are more comparable to the conditions in the United States.
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The studies of the IRA’s campaign in England and the sarin attack in Tokyo
included in this volume offer us something not available in the other case
studies: insight into the terrorists themselves—what they were trying to
achieve and how they decided to go about it. Such knowledge is a valuable
first step for developing successful countermeasures. That said, the British and
Japanese experiences presented completely different terrorist rationales and
operations.
The ongoing campaign in the United Kingdom enabled those charged with
security to carefully analyze the modus operandi of the adversary, determine
appropriate countermeasures, discern results, and make adjustments as the
campaign evolved. Authorities were able to diagnose, comprehend, and
respond to the threat.
The sarin attack was different. Although the Aum Shinrikyo sect made test runs
of nerve gas releases prior to the March 20 attack (not recognized by
authorities as precursors) and additional low-level attacks occurred afterward,
the March 20 attack was a single stunning event. There were no patterns to be
discerned, no ongoing campaign to be analyzed. Security was increased, but
the system remained virtually defenseless against chemical attacks. Japanese
authorities focused on destroying the group and its capacity to wage chemical
or biological warfare. The major lessons fell within the category of crisis
management, which must be a part of all security programs.
The two studies of security measures in effect at the two transportation systems
in Northern California, in turn, differ from the London and Tokyo examples.
Crime occurs everywhere and an incident of terrorism can occur anywhere—
witness the Tokyo sarin attack and the Oklahoma City bombing—but the
terrorist threat to California must be assessed as less than that in the United
Kingdom or other places where terrorist activity has regularly occurred over a
long period of time.
Given the relative quiet on the domestic front, the security measures taken by
the Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency (BART) and the Santa Clara County Valley
Transit Authority (VTA) are not nearly as elaborate as those taken in England
or Tokyo. This raises the question of threat assessment: If no apparent threat is
on the horizon, yet nothing can ever be ruled out, how much security is
enough? Is a full-scale terrorist threat the only way to marshal enough security,
or should public agencies take action to prevent such a threat? Given scarce
resources and relatively low levels of public concern, such questions are
always a part of the public policy matrix and not easily answered.
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The updated chronology adds 195 entries to the 631 entries listed in the first
volume. Inasmuch as some of these entries are multiple events, we now have a
database of terrorist attacks and serious violent crimes exceeding 800
incidents, which offers greater confidence in the statistical analysis. The
updated chronology shows that the patterns of terrorism in terms of targets and
tactics remain stable. The locations of the attacks shift somewhat, reflecting
slowly changing patterns of global conflict. Terrorist attacks on transportation
targets continue to be significantly more lethal than terrorist attacks overall,
underlining the fact that terrorists see train stations, bus depots, cars, and
coaches as killing fields.
A separate Executive Overview distills the lessons learned in both phases of
the research and describes the best security practices identified in all the case
studies and the accompanying security literature. This document will serve as a
primer to accompany further briefings and detailed discussions with
transportation system operators and security officials, which are envisioned for
Phase III.
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The United Kingdom’s Response to the IRA’S Terrorism Campaign
Against Mainland Surface Transportation
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THE UNITED KINGDOM’S RESPONSE TO THE IRA’S
TERRORISM CAMPAIGN AGAINST
MAINLAND SURFACE TRANSPORTATION
Any study of “best practices” in securing transportation against terrorist
attacks must include an examination of the British experience in dealing with
terrorist attacks carried out by the Provisional Wing of the Irish Republican
Army (IRA). Few other counties have faced such a sustained campaign of
violence. Unlike many other contemporary terrorist groups, the IRA did not
hijack or sabotage commercial airliners; armies “do not do such things.”
However, the organization waged a 25-year campaign against surface
transportation, attacking targets in Northern Ireland and Britain.
Transport was not the IRA’s only target on the British mainland. The group
also attacked public officials, government buildings, tourist sites, public
events, and commercial property. The organization’s reason for such activities
was simple: to remind British officials and the British public that the
“troubles” would not be confined to Northern Ireland alone; as long as turmoil
existed in Northern Ireland, it would exist in the heart of Great Britain as well.
In response to the IRA’s terrorist campaign, British authorities were forced to
implement extraordinary security measures. The analysis of the terrorist threat,
the government’s strategic approach to security, response procedures, and
involvement of the public are all worthy of examination.1
The following case study describes London’s Underground, a favorite target of
the IRA, as well as light railways, buses, and the national rail network. It then
examines the IRA’s strategy and the evolution of its terrorist campaign, and
describes the transportation security structure and the general approach and
specific countermeasures taken to save lives and reduce disruption.
THE UNDERGROUND
The London Underground is the world’s oldest and one of its largest
underground railway systems. Its first line opened in 1863. Additional lines
were added as London grew during the nineteenth century, and expansion
1 In addition to the cited publications, this chapter draws heavily on interviews in London with,
and material provided by, officials of the Department of Environment, Transport and Regions,
the British Transport Police, the Metropolitan Police, and the National Terrorist Crime
Prevention Unit.
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continued throughout the twentieth century. The last route, the Jubilee Line,
was completed in 1979. Today, the Underground, or “tube” as it is known,
comprises 12 separate lines that crisscross London and extend well into the
suburbs.
Only 42 percent of the Underground’s rails actually run underground;
operation takes place through two types of tunnels. One form, “cut and cover”
tunnels, are created by excavating from the surface, then covering the trench;
in some parts, the trenches are left uncovered and the trains run just below or at
ground level. These tunnels carry 8 percent of the system’s lines. The second
form, deep-level tubes, are excavated far below the surface and are completely
covered upon completion. Thirty-four percent of the rails are deep-level tubes.
To a considerable extent, the form of rail design determines the type of engines
that move rail traffic. While steam locomotives initially were used on the
subsurface lines, only electrical trains could operate in the deep tunnels, the
first of which was completed in 1890. Electrification accompanied expansion
of the system, although the last steam engines were not removed until 1962.
During World War II, the tunnels were used as air raid shelters and thousands
of people slept in them during the bombing campaign. One of the lines was
closed and its tunnel used to store treasures from the British Museum.
The Underground’s routes total approximately 259 miles (416.7 kilometers)
and serve 278 stations. Trains move 150,000 people every hour. During the
morning peak travel hours, 34,000 passengers pass through Victoria Station,
which has been attacked by the IRA several times. The District Line, the
system’s busiest, carries 545,000 passengers a day; the Northern Line carries
530,000 passengers; the Piccadilly Line, 520,000 passengers; the Metropolitan
and Circle Lines, 500,000 each. In 1999, the Underground carried passengers
on 930 million trips, a figure that was expected to surpass 1 billion in 2000.
Because the Underground is the circulatory system of the city, even short
disruptions can produce enormous problems. This has made it a preferred
target of the terrorist campaign.2
LIGHT RAIL
Two recently completed light rail systems expand London’s Underground
network, the Docklands Light Railway and the Croyden Tramlink. Opened in
2 Anthony Clayton, Subterranean City: Beneath the Streets of London, London: Historical
Publications, Ltd., 2000.
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1987, the Docklands connects the Underground with the Canary Wharf
business complex, the Millennium Dome, and other new developments in
London’s old Dockland area on the eastern edge of the city; eventually the line
will reach London’s City Airport. Currently the system has 27 kilometers
(17 miles) of track, mostly elevated, connecting 34 stations. It operates 30
trains, which carry 110,000 passengers a day.
In February 1996, the IRA detonated a bomb under the railway bridge at
Surrey Quay in the Docklands. Two people were killed, and more than 100
people were injured, seven seriously. In a statement to the news media, the IRA
indicated that the bombing signaled the end to its 17-month cease-fire and
demanded that the British government convene talks involving all parties,
including the IRA’s political wing, to negotiate a settlement to the conflict.
The Croyden Tramlink, which opened in May 2000, connects the suburb of
Croyden with London. Its 21 trams connect 38 stops along 28 kilometers
(18 miles) of winding track. The trams, which are designed to handle tight
curves, run both on city streets and on previous, abandoned rail lines.
Configured in six-car formats, each tram can carry as many as 200 passengers.
LONDON’S BUSES
The double-deck red bus is a symbol of London. More than 4,000 of them
move nearly 4 million people daily throughout the 1,500 square miles of
Greater London. At one time, there were twice that many, but new
Underground lines and private automobiles reduced bus ridership, while
budget constraints limited modernization and expansion. Forced to contend
with growing surface-street traffic, the buses lost their advantage as efficient
and inexpensive transportation sources. Recent policy changes, however, may
precipitate a reversal of this trend. Urban architects readily concede that
building more roads to and from a city already choked with traffic and
suffering from pollution is not the answer.
Buses take up less road space, move more people with less energy, and can be
made nearly pollution-free, in contrast to the old black-smoke-belching diesel
engines. Restrictions on automobile parking, dedicated bus lanes, and smart
traffic signals can reduce delays in schedules.
As noted in the chronology presented in Appendix A at the end of this chapter,
terrorist bombs on buses can yield exceptionally deadly results. Recent attacks
in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Israel bear witness to the toll of human
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devastation. However, bus explosions cause less disruption to a system than
attacks on railways. If the bus is halted and evacuated, or even if the bomb
detonates causing casualties, traffic can be rerouted and service restored more
easily. Sabotaging rails and placing bombs in stations provide greater
opportunities for escape and more time to give warnings that could prevent
catastrophe, but the disruptive effects are enormous. Putting bombs on buses
entails greater risk and offers fewer opportunities for warning would-be
victims.
Although the IRA terrorist campaign in England focused on rail transportation
rather than buses, the organization selected buses as the targets of several
attacks. On February 18, 1996, less than 10 days after the bombing of the
Docklands Light Railway, a terrorist bomb exploded on a London bus near
Covent Garden. One person died and eight others were injured in the
explosion. The following day, the IRA claimed responsibility, expressing
regret for any casualties. The fact that the bombing occurred without any
warning caused authorities to suspect that the bomb may have exploded
accidentally while being transported to another target. However, because it
came so soon after the IRA’s deadly attack on the Docklands Light Rail, some
people feared that the IRA was intensifying its terrorist attacks in England.
UNITED KINGDOM RAIL
Commuter trains, which provide transportation into and out of London, are
part of UK Rail, a network of 25 independent railroads that provide passenger
service throughout the United Kingdom. International transfers are available
via the EuroStar, a high-speed passenger service that connects London with
Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, or “Chunnel.”
As part of its disruptive activities, the IRA carried out a number of attacks on
train stations and the rail network, and vandals disrupted the UK Rail highspeed
service. Because of these efforts, extraordinary security precautions
were put into place to protect the Channel Tunnel against terrorist attack. In
1996, British security forces foiled the only documented attempt by the IRA to
shut down the Channel Tunnel by sabotaging the electricity supply.
THE IRA’S TERRORIST CAMPAIGN
Irish resistance to British rule of the island has continued for centuries under a
variety of banners. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) traces its history to the
1920 armed rebellion that ultimately paved the way to independence for the
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Irish Free State while British rule continued in Northern Ireland. Opposing this
partition, the IRA continued a sporadic campaign of terrorism.
In the late 1960s, shortly after widespread violence broke out between
Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, the IRA split into the official
and provisional wings. It was the Provisional IRA that waged an intense
terrorist campaign against the British from 1969 to 1998, at which time the
organization agreed to a cease-fire. However, a splinter group calling itself the
“Real IRA” has continued to carry out terrorist attacks.3
The IRA’s strategy was never especially profound. With active members
numbering between 50 and several hundred, depending on the year, the group
initially confined its campaign to Northern Ireland. Principal efforts focused
upon attacking police and military targets, while waging economic warfare
through bombings of commercial targets. The organization realized from the
start that it could not defeat the security forces arrayed against it in a true
military sense; it could try only to keep the faith alive, survive organizationally,
continue the fight, and hope to eventually wear down British resolve. Thus, the
opposition group operated essentially with a strategy of economic and
psychological attrition, or, as one IRA leader described it, “blattering on until
the Brits leave.”
In 1973, the IRA exported its terrorist campaign to England. Wales and
Scotland were left untouched because, like the Irish, they were considered
“culters,” not English; as such, these groups were perceived as ethnic allies.
The terrorists hoped that attacks in England would increase security problems
and costs for the British government. Indeed, some of the major terrorist
bombings in London caused hundreds of millions of pounds in damages and
wiped out insurance coverage, forcing the government to step in as the insurer
of last resort. The terrorist threat to London also obliged security authorities to
erect the so-called “ring of steel,” an elaborate array of traffic diversions,
checkpoints, and surveillance designed to keep truck bombs out of the city’s
financial center.
3 In addition to the interviews cited above, accounts of the IRA’s campaign are based upon:
J. Bowyer Bell, The IRA 1968-2000: Analysis of a Secret Army, London: Frank Cass
Publishers, 2000; C.J.M. Drake, Terrorists’ Target Selection, Basingstoke: MacMillan Press
Ltd., 1998; Tony Geraghty, The Irish War: The Military History of a Domestic Conflict,
London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1998; and the author’s own research.
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Terrorist bombs in London, even smaller ones, captured more headlines than
terrorist bombs in Northern Ireland, had great psychological impact, and
exaggerated the power of the IRA. Terrorism in England also kept the struggle
on the British political agenda. Still, the IRA’s expectations had to be realistic.
As one knowledgeable analyst of the IRA’s campaign put it, “If Hitler had not
bombed London into submission, the IRA certainly lacked the capacity to do
so.”4 The IRA did not seek true submission, however; instead it sought the
erosion of public patience and political will. It forced people to ask whether the
commitment of British troops in Northern Ireland was worth the blood, the
inconvenience, and the fear.
With goals so broadly defined, almost any terrorist action would serve the
needs of a terrorist organization. Political or strategic rationales did not dictate
IRA targets in England; operational considerations did. The IRA did what was
possible, using its available resources. Capabilities in England were limited.
Volunteers were its most precious commodity and had to be preserved. This
dictated low-risk operationstargets had to be “soft” with few defenses and
offering an easy escape.
Two levels of IRA operatives participated in the attacks. Active Service Units
composed of better trained volunteers, the “A team,” carried out the major
terrorist attacks; less sophisticated volunteers, the “B team,” waged a
continuing campaign of low-level terrorism. There were few technically
demanding operations—the attack on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at a
Brighton Beach hotel, the mortar attack on Number 10 Downing Street, and
the two truck bombs in London’s financial district. The attacks on the
Underground and rail system appeared to be the work of the less sophisticated
operators—low-level, but potentially still deadly.
Of the 81 explosive devices that were placed at transport targets, 79 were handplaced
time bombs. Fifty percent of them did not work as intended. Altogether,
three people were killed by IRA bombs on the rail system, one at Victoria
Station in 1991, and two on the Docklands Light Railway in 1996. This low
number of casualties, however, is not due solely to the terrorists’ great pains to
avoid casualties. Without the authorities’ prompt response to threats, the death
toll could have been much higher.
Killing by itself, however, was seldom the IRA’s goal. The IRA did not seek
mass casualties like the Islamic extremists who bombed the Paris Metro or the
4 J. Bowyer Bell, op.cit. p. 229.
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Aum Shinrikyo cult members who spread sarin in Tokyo’s subways. It had a
different set of values and objectives. Too many corpses could alienate
perceived constituents—Catholics in Northern Ireland as well as sympathizers
and supporters abroad.
A target was chosen simply because it was vulnerable, and once it was
selected, the IRA would continue to attack it for as long as circumstances
permitted. London’s vulnerable Underground met these criteria. While
perimeters around government buildings could be pushed out further and
hardened, and the financial district of London could be surrounded with a ring
of steel, millions of people still had to ride the Underground every day.
Surveillance and security could be increased, but, like the Belfast-to-Dublin
rail line, which the IRA also bombed repeatedly, terrorist attacks on the
Underground and mainland rail lines could not be entirely prevented.
Assaults on the Underground disrupted the lives of millions of passengers,
offering the IRA banner headlines and inspiring footage for television news.
Moreover, the IRA could magnify the disruption through bomb threats, which
required nothing more than phone calls. Because real bombings occurred often
enough, authorities could not afford to ignore such phone calls.
The result, as we see in the chronology at the end of this chapter, was a longrunning
terrorist campaign aimed at the mainland’s surface transportation
system, with the majority of attacks occurring in four discernible stages:
• between February 1976 and March 1976, comprising four incidents
• between December 1991 and February 1993, comprising 18 incidents
• between February 1996 (the end of a 17-month cease-fire) and April 1996,
comprising three incidents
• a final surge in April 1997, comprising four incidents.
Putting aside bomb threats, it appears that except for one period in 1976, the
IRA was able to carry out only one or two attacks a month with long hiatuses
in between.
Seventeen persons were killed in attacks on all transport in England, 11 of
them in the single attack on soldiers and their families traveling on a bus in
England. The IRA regarded this as a military target. More than 200 persons
were injured, over half of them in a single incident—the 1996 bombing of the
Docklands Light Railway. Disruption rather than casualties appears to have
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been the objective, but the disruption caused by threats and consequent
evacuations and shutdowns rested on the IRA’s credibility, and credibility
required casualties.
The chronology does not give the total picture of the IRA terrorist campaign.
Bombings and shootings occurred frequently in Northern Ireland. The IRA
also attacked the Belfast-to-Dublin rail line on numerous occasions. In addition
to attacks on public transport in England, the IRA carried out mortar attacks
against the Prime Minister’s residence and Heathrow Airport, and a number of
other attacks including two devastating truck bombs set off in the heart of
London in 1992 and 1993. The terrorist threat remained high throughout the
period.
Along with the inevitable copycats and malicious pranksters who were
inspired by terrorist events, the IRA’s campaign imposed a staggering burden
on transportation security and a nervous public. Between 1991 and 1997, there
were 41 IRA attacks on transportation targets in England involving 81 devices,
29 explosions, and 3 deaths. In addition, there were 6,569 telephone bomb
threats; 9,430 suspicious objects were reported and investigated. The
Underground and railroads also had to deal with more than a quarter-million
lost or abandoned items every year, any one of which might have been a bomb.
THE SECURITY ORGANIZATION
The security network for combating terrorism comprised the intelligence
agencies of the British government, the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police
(Scotland Yard), other local police departments, and the National Terrorist
Crime Prevention Unit (NTCPU). Two organizations focused specifically on
the security of surface transportation. These are the Transport Security
Division of the Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions
(DETR), and the British Transport Police.
The DETR’s Transport Security Division is a policy-making body responsible
for the security of British surface transportation. The division conducts
analysis, recommends legislation, and provides security directions and
guidance to transportation operators. One of its special areas of concern is the
security of the Channel Tunnel, which has implemented elaborate security
precautions in response to the flurry of terrorist threats. In 1998, the DETR
initiated its own “best practices” review to improve security at rail stations
throughout the United Kingdom and, as part of the process, issued a number of
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guideline documents. One review of the DETR status is presented in
Appendix B at the end of this chapter.
The British Transport Police (BTP) is the national police force for the railways
that provides policing service to rail operators, their staff, and passengers in
England, Wales, and Scotland. The BTP also is responsible for policing the
London Underground system, the Docklands Light Railway, the Midland
Metro Tram System, and Croyden Tramlink. The force does not cover bus
transport, which is left to local police departments. In 2000, the British
Transport Police had 2,106 police officers and 524 civilian support staff
deployed in eight territorial areas. Areas 6 and 7 encompass North and South
London respectively, while Area 8 comprises London’s Underground.
The devastating results from an IRA bombing of a shopping center in
Manchester in 1996 led to an increased demand for security advice from the
private sector. Local police departments had no centralized operation for
assisting retail stores and other commercial enterprises, nor was there a
consistent national approach. In 1998, the Association of Chief Police Officers
established the National Terrorist Crime Prevention Unit (NTCPU), a small
office that began by formulating a National Terrorist Crime Prevention
Strategy. The NTCPU also collates and disseminates “best practices”
information for preventing terrorist crimes. It provides training and supporting
literature to its “core customers,” commercial and professional bodies like the
British Retail Consortium and Association of Town Centre Managers. The
NTCPU extended its activities at the local level through Counter Terrorist
Crime Prevention Officers (CTCPOs) provided by each police department;
these individuals, in turn, distribute NTCPU materials to the private sector.
By tradition, security has largely been a reactive enterprise. Although the
terrorist threat level remains high, the NTCPU knows that it has to convince
business consumers that implementation of recommended security measures
will deter or prevent terrorism and reduce ordinary crime. In the United States,
liability lawyers provide an additional incentive for implementing security
measures, because failure to do so can lead to a charge of negligence and
punitive damages; the United Kingdom is less litigious. The NTCPU’s
approach is to have packages of advice-containing material ready to go. When
threats or incidents heighten concern, the material is distributed to a sensitized
audience.
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INCREASED SECURITY
Two goals drove the security strategy of public authorities: the protection of
lives, and the reduction of disruption. Obviously, lives could not be imperiled
just to keep the trains running, but shutting down for long periods could disrupt
the entire network. Through careful analysis and research, the police learned
how to distinguish what terrorists typically do from public behavior. Every
incident was closely analyzed; as incidents accumulated, patterns could be
discerned. This effort was facilitated by the high volume of terrorist activity
and by the tendency of the IRA to adhere to certain patterns.
Security was increased in a variety of ways. Many of these are part of a
program called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED),
which has attained widespread acceptance.
• Architectural Liaison Officers. Each police department designated an
Architectural Liaison Officer (ALO) to gather detailed knowledge of blast
effects on structure, cladding, glazing, principles of bomb shelter areas (see
below), policy and initiatives on new buildings and refurbishments, the
counterterrorist impact on fixtures, street furniture, etc. ALOs advise local
commercial entities on security issues in design and construction.
• Visibility. Where new stations were being constructed or old ones
remodeled, new designs ensured good visibility for passengers and camera
surveillance systems.
• Bomb shelter areas. Bomb shelter areas (BSAs) were identified as areas
within a building or other facility likely to suffer minimal damage from any
explosion. If time or specific circumstances (such as a car bomb on the
street outside) prevented evacuation, people would be routed to a bomb
shelter area prequalified by an experienced structural engineer.
Government guidelines recommended locating BSAs away from windows,
external doors and walls, the “perimeter structural bay,” the floor structure
between a building’s perimeter, and the first line of supporting columns.
The guidelines also recommended shelters surrounded by full-height
masonry or concrete walls, but not in stairwells or areas with access to
elevator shafts that open to the ground level. BSAs were designed to permit
access to the “outside” world.
• Litter bins. Blast-resistant litter bins approved by the Police Scientific and
Development Branch were deployed in accordance with NTCPU
guidelines. Operators were warned against removing trash containers,
because this could lead to piles of rubbish that might conceal explosive
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devices. Litter bins were to be located in prominent, well-lit areas, within
view of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems and away from sources
of secondary fragmentation such as windows, mirrors, or overhead glass.
Operators were advised to consider all materials located above, below, and
to the sides of the litter bin. They were not to be located adjacent to obvious
terrorist targets like police stations, post offices, or banks. Bin liners were
to be transparent to provide a clear view of litter bin contents.
• Fencing. Fencing was improved around stations and, where possible, along
rail lines. Analysis showed that when IRA saboteurs placed bombs on rail
lines, they followed the existing paths used by trespassers. They also chose
locations that had good access from nearby roads to minimize their own
risk.
• Lighting. Lighting was improved inside the stations to deter crime of all
types, facilitate surveillance, and reassure passengers. Bombs often were
located in poorly lit areas.
• Closed-Circuit Television. British authorities have used CCTV
extensively as a deterrent. Initially, more than 3,500—and ultimately more
than 5,000—cameras monitored transport activity. CCTV was used to
monitor activity, detect suspicious action, recognize individuals, and
identify suspects beyond reasonable doubt. All station cameras were
directly accessible to the police and could be called up on demand. In
locating cameras, transport operators were advised to identify areas where
passengers were most vulnerable; situate cameras so that they could not
easily be avoided, damaged, or obscured; and use cameras for extending
coverage to the immediate surrounding area. Although CCTV proved
enormously effective in reducing crime and contributing to the deterrence
of terrorism, authorities found that CCTV by itself was not enough. A
combination of CCTV coverage plus police patrols and prompt police
response made the greatest contribution to security.
• Passenger communications systems. Passenger communications systems
included public address systems, help points, telephones, and emergency
alarms. Passengers were instructed as to what constituted an emergency
and were encouraged to use the help points and alarms when appropriate.
CCTV cameras covered the help points and alarms so that staff could see
who was calling and why. Staff communicated through mobile telephones
and two-way radios.
• Bomb threat paging. One unique use of technology in the United
Kingdom was bomb threat paging. Customers with pagers who subscribed
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to the service were alerted through pagers and provided with directions on
evacuation or areas to avoid.
• Extra staff. Extra rail staff members were deployed to assist in
surveillance, help passengers, and contribute to deterrence.
• Patrols. Overt and covert police patrols were increased. Both rail staff and
police constantly kept a lookout for suspicious objects. In some cases,
Underground and rail stations were searched hourly.
• Handling of unattended items. The quarter million items left unattended
or abandoned in stations and on trains each year imposed a tremendous
burden on security. Although no unattended bag was ever linked to an
explosive device, every unattended bag had to be checked. A standardized
reporting form was used to record where the item was found, its contents,
whether the bag was X-rayed, and whether the bomb squad had been
called. Every left item was photographed.
• Detailed guidance. Security required the active participation of the
transport police and local police departments, transport system operators,
rail staff, and the general public. To ensure that operators would get the
most out of the security measures taken by the operators and their staffs,
the police and NTCPU disseminated easy-to-understand guidelines and
advice on everything from deploying CCTV cameras and litter bin
placements to handling left parcels and responding to bomb threats. These
were distributed as booklets, flyers, laminated cards, videos, and through
Web sites.
• Private sector involvement. The authorities enlisted the private sector as a
security partner. As part of an effort to achieve consistency and improve
prevention and response, police shared confidential threat information,
provided an array of instructional material, and offered direct advice to
commercial centers, facility managers, and transport operators.
• Alert levels with predetermined security menus. The Security Service
distributed written assessments of any terrorist threat to all police forces
and to retail and commercial sectors on a confidential basis. Rail operators
and commercial centers in train stations also received threat assessments.
The system identified four levels of alert. At Level Four, the lowest,
commercial companies were advised to continue routine crime prevention
measures, terrorism awareness training, frequent testing and regular
auditing of security and CCTV systems, and periodic checks of building
perimeters. Level Three advised, in addition to Level Four measures,
“good housekeeping checks” on perimeters at opening and closing times,
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practicing search plans and emergency evacuations, updating emergency
contact lists, checking security systems, reporting all suspicious incidents,
and raising the profile of security personnel. Level Two advised increasing
the frequency of perimeter checks, identifying and securing high-risk
areas, escorting all visitors, carefully examining all items brought into the
premises, searching regularly for suspicious packages, controlling access
to staff and customer car parks, and postponing non-essential maintenance.
A Level One notice, the highest level of alert, contained specific guidance
from the police and security service to precise locations and companies.
• Training. Operating in ways similar to bomb squad hostage negotiators,
the CTCPOs and ALOs had specific counterterrorist missions. The nature
of terrorism—the fact that terrorists could attack anything, anywhere,
anytime—dictated special training for the police. Great emphasis was
placed on standardized procedures that would ensure consistency and
thereby facilitate coordination.
• Covert testing. To ensure that security was being maintained, authorities
regularly conducted covert tests, such as leaving a bag containing a
suspicious object on a train or in a station.
• Involvement of the public. Public involvement was critical to the security
strategy, despite the limitations and risks of false alarms, especially
immediately following terrorist attacks. Signage and repeated public
announcements kept the public alert to the terrorist threat and the need to
keep personal packages under direct control, remain vigilant for left
parcels, and immediately report suspicious activity or articles to staff.
Police remained confident that any left parcels would be discovered in
minutes, and because most IRA bombs were set with one hour or more on
the timer, police would have time to respond.
• Dissemination of “good” or “best practices.” Authorities made a
continuing effort to identify good security measures or “best practices” and
disseminate them through instructional material and advice offered by the
NTCPU and the designated Counter Terrorist Crime Prevention Officers in
each police force.
Few transport systems experience terrorist events, making it difficult to gauge
the effectiveness of security measures. In Britain, however, the persistence of
the IRA campaign allowed such measurement. The evolution of the terrorist
campaign indicates that the security measures had a discernible effect. In 1991,
IRA terrorist attacks centered on stations in London. By 1992, the attackers
were pushed out to suburban stations, and by 1993, they were confined to
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home counties. The targets of the attackers also shifted from stations to switch
boxes and rail lines away from stations. In the later years of the terrorist
campaign, there were fewer bombs and more bomb threats.
The security measures against terrorism also had the additional effect of
reducing ordinary crime (as did the “ring of steel” around London’s financial
district). Crime in the Underground, which had been increasing in the late
1980s, reversed direction and declined 54 percent in the 1990s, bucking a
national trend.
Despite the increased security and positive effects, the nature of the target
precluded any hope of completely preventing terrorist attacks. Some things
could not be done: For example, passenger screening or the examination of all
briefcases and parcels were not considered realistic measures for a public
transportation system used by millions of people daily.
Another measure of effectiveness was disruption. As the authorities became
more familiar with the IRA’s modus operandi, they were able to develop
procedures that reduced response time and the duration of disruptions.
Increased camera coverage enabled them to identify and deal with suspicious
objects or promptly diagnose the situation, while rehearsed procedures reduced
the amount of search time. Authorities measured total disruption time in
minutes much in the same way that train operators tracked total delays. As
responses improved, total disruption time was reduced. However, this type of
measure would be possible only in cases of a long-term continuing terrorist
campaign.
RESPONDING TO BOMB THREATS
Bomb threat responses posed the most common problem, owing to the great
number of hoax threats by pranksters as well as efforts by the IRA to capitalize
on their actual bombs in order to increase the overall disruption. Bomb threats
might be telephoned to the police, but the potential targets included
commercial properties, shopping malls, hotels, and transport operators.
Anyone in any of these facilities might receive the call—a secretary,
switchboard operator, headquarters office, information line—whatever
telephone number the terrorists or hoax perpetrators had available or chose to
call.
Given the multiplicity of potential targets, authorities attempted to train
everyone involved to obtain as much information as possible and promptly
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forward it to the police. Armed with accurate information, the police could
assist in the assessment and respond without delay. The government
disseminated manuals giving detailed instructions on how to respond to bomb
threats, letter bombs, incendiary devices, bombs or suspicious objects found in
the facility, and bombs found in adjacent properties. Each new bombing attack
was examined for lessons learned, which were then shared with the private
sector. The authorities emphasized planning and established procedures for
notification, searches, and, when necessary, evacuation. Although there was
some risk that the distribution of some of this material outside the police force
might enable terrorists and hoax perpetrators to improve their efforts, ensuring
public safety took precedence. Interestingly, the IRA never mounted any
elaborate hoaxes. They planted bombs and made telephone calls.
Police carefully analyzed each and every terrorist incident and threat to look
for patterns that would enable them to more easily distinguish hoaxes from
genuine terrorist threats, the merely disruptive from the potentially deadly. Did
terrorists communicate differently from hoaxers? Where and how did terrorists
plant their bombs as opposed to the hoax devices sometimes found? The
objective was to establish guidelines that would take the pressure off the
individual decision maker and establish a routine that would protect lives,
reduce shutdowns, and be legally defensible if people were hurt.
The patterns were put into the context of the existing threat level, which varied
according to whether there was an ongoing surge in terrorist activity, upcoming
political events that had prompted terrorist activity in the past, or intelligence
indicating possible terrorist attacks. All threats were treated seriously initially
and then, depending on the available information, downgraded to probable
hoaxes but not dismissed until after the deadline expired. Authorities treated
threats thought to come from terrorists more seriously. In such cases, an
evacuation might be considered, but evacuations generally were not ordered
unless the search turned up a suspect object. Without a located device, it was
considered dangerous to evacuate, because people might be moved toward a
bomb. Even then, authorities had to worry about a secondary device, which the
IRA sometimes employed.
Of the more than 6,500 bomb threats directed against the Underground and
railroads between 1991 and 1997, about 100, fewer than 2 percent, were
considered serious. Of the 100 serious cases, evacuations or partial evacuations
were ordered in 41 cases, or less than two-thirds of 1 percent of the total
volume of reported threats.
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There is a popular misconception that the IRA deliberately assisted authorities
in distinguishing real threats from hoaxes by attaching a secret code word to
their communications. The IRA’s 1973 attack on the Baker Street Underground
Station was the first of the so-called coded calls. The IRA’s use of a code
ostensibly was intended to advise authorities when and where they had placed
a bomb so that the threat would not be considered merely another hoax. This
would enable the authorities to evacuate the target, thereby avoiding civilian
casualtiesthe IRA considered members of the bomb squad to be fair game.
Thus, the IRA would not bear the moral consequences of wanton killing, while
achieving its goals of disruption and property damage if the bomb went off.
All this, however, was only theory. According to authorities, there was never
any agreed-upon code, and hoaxers who read about the IRA codes could invent
and append their own codes. During the years of the IRA’s terrorist campaign,
London’s Metropolitan Police Department sometimes received up to 200 calls
a day, at least 50 of which contained some kind of code word. IRA members
themselves invented code words, leaving the authorities to ponder their
authenticity.5
Even when IRA callers provided a code word they had used before, thus
signal

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