A year of security on Lombardy trains

Polfer Lombardia presents annual report.

Over 330 arrests, but also the recovery of 98 missing persons – including 66 minors – were some of the statistics in the annual report of activity for 2018, presented in Milan last week by the Lombardy division of the Polizia Ferroviaria (Polfer).

The force reported 2,250 complaints – about six every day – and around 90,000 persons questioned and identified in the course of the year that has just closed, with fines levied against over 1,500 passengers. The force had carried out over 28,000 security patrols in stations, plus another 20,000 aboard trains. These included 2.347 specific anti-bag-snatching operations, as well as 84 extraordinary patrols.

The regional councillor, Riccardo De Corato, said the hard-working security staff of the railway companies in and around Milan, like Trenord commuter network and ATM urban transport authority, deserved backup from the state institutions. He suggested more use of carabinieri, or the accreditation of selected guards as auxiliary police, with identity armbands, to boost the dissuasion effect and to bring harsher sentences for offenders.

De Corato also went as far as to propose self-defence training and the issue of pepper-spray and Taser electric pistols. However, secretary general for Lombardy of the FILT-CGIL railway workers union Marco Sala slammed that idea. “If somebody is a rail worker,” said Sala, “he should do that job and can’t be transformed into a cop. It’s dangerous to follow the concept that they should be armed to defend themselves.

“That’s a vicious circle,” Sala protested. “Instead we need more police presence in the stations at night, instead of closing the police posts.”