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The Domodevovo bombing has revealed gaping holes in security at airports, metro and train stations, forcing government officials to confront improving safety in crowded places head on.
President Dmitry Medvedev led the chorus of criticism in the wake of Monday’s terrorist attack, saying that management at Domodedovo should be punished over security lapses.
The airport recently came under widespread criticism over its response to weather-related holiday traffic delays in December, when thousands of passengers were stranded.
“Management of… Domodedovo Airport… should be punished for security violations,” Medvedev said.
The statements prompted the Investigative Committee to launch an investigation into transport police at the airport. If convicted, officials could face up to seven years in prison.
Medvedev also ordered a shake-up of Russia’s transport police – already undergoing cuts as part of his police reform.
On Wednesday, Medvedev also fired General Andrei Alexeyev, head of the transport police for the central federal district, which includes Moscow and the Moscow region.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Igor Levitin sacked four senior officials in departments overseeing aviation and transportation security.
“If people don’t understand how to work, we will find other people,” Medvedev was quoted by news agencies as saying. “Control should be daily, and unfortunately, relentless, otherwise we will not reach our goals.”
Not enough training
Investigators and security officials are still trying to understand how a suicide bomber with 5-7 kilogrammes of TNT managed to enter Domodedovo’s arrivals area undetected.
Experts say the main reason he was able to walk into Russia’s largest airport with a bomb is that neither transport police nor airport security staff are trained to be able to prevent such things from happening.
“Police officers and security staff at the airport have not been trained to take measures when there is a terror attack alert,” Yakov Rezgo, the head of a Moscow-based private security firm, told The Moscow News.
Transport Minister Igor Levitin, meanwhile, ordered private security companies and transport security staff to have briefings on preventive measures to prevent further terrorist attacks and work more closely with the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry.
Rezgo said a major factor was simply a failure to use existing security equipment properly. “The metal detectors there usually are either switched off or out of order, so anyone can just walk in,” he said.
Rezgo pointed out that Russian authorities, transport police and security staff should look to other countries if they want to improve their safety standards.
“Israel and Britain, for example, have people in civilian clothes at airports who work undercover to maintain order, and we do not have this,” he said. “Once specific training is carried out for [police and security staff], then there will be fewer casualties or none at all if such terror attacks ever happen again.”
Other experts said there needs to be a whole new system of preventive measures against terror attacks in Russia.
For instance, authorities should employ both force and political measures against terror, using approaches adopted by Britain and France as examples, said Anatoly Tsyganok, a security expert who heads the Moscow-based Institute of Military and Political Analysis.
“We have been using force as the main measure against terror, but we should look into the problem more deeply – tougher security measures and getting civilians involved in the process – these should be top priorities,” he told The Moscow News.
Tsyganok pointed out that bomb detectors must be installed at every metro station. “There is one at Belorusskaya, but is this enough?”
He also said that digital photo and video cameras set up at crowded places like airports, and train and metro stations can help to prevent terrorist attacks.
It would also be a good idea to prepare specialists on anti-terror security measures in various sectors, including the police, local authorities, the health service, media, education, sport and culture, Tsyganok said.
Источник: The Moscow News
Ссылка на источник: http://www.themoscownews.com/russia/20110127/188373387.html