The Swiss Federal Railways is beefing up security on the country's trains following an increase in violent incidents.This content was published on April 20, 2002 - 10:43
Guards from the private security firm, Securitas, have been accompanying trains in the west of Switzerland between Geneva and Sion, Fribourg and Lausanne, and Neuchâtel and Lausanne since the beginning of this week.
"We have noticed that violence has increased especially on the early and the late trains, particularly in the French-speaking parts of Switzerland," Jean-Philippe Schmidt, spokesman for Swiss Federal Railways, told swissinfo.
Even though Schmidt was unable to give any exact figures on the rise in violence, he said there was clear evidence of a growing trend and that security had to be stepped up.
"I think that violence in Switzerland has increased generally and we have seen a significant rise in violence," he said. "We might not have a case of violence every day, but we certainly see cases of bad language once a day."
Violence targeted at railway staff
Schmidt stressed that most of the violence was targeted at railway personnel rather than passengers.
In addition to the extra security guards, who will be deployed alongside existing railway police, close circuit cameras have been installed on trains in western Switzerland as part of a pilot project.
Schmidt said both forces were cooperating closely. "For two years the railway police has been part of an organisation which is 50 per cent owned by the Swiss Federal Railways and 50 per cent by Securitas," he said.
The move comes two years after 1,700 SBB employees received special training on how to deal with violent incidents.
by Billi Bierling and Jonathan Summerton
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