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‘Trained to shoot’: 3k armed marshals in civilian clothing to patrol French trains

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French trains will soon be patrolled by 3,000 plain-clothes marshals carrying guns, according to the national rail service. The move comes in response to the recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris.

“These agents will be trained how to shoot,”SNCF chief Guillaume Pépy said Sunday. The marshals will supplement security teams who patrol in uniform on certain lines, particularly on suburban trains around Paris.

The idea is similar to air marshals: armed plain-clothes officers which are often present on flights.

The move is made possible by a boost to the rail service’s security budget, which will increase by 50 percent to around €400 million (US$455 million).

“SNCF is changing,”said Pépy, as quoted by the Local. “We won’t take the train in the same way anymore.”

In addition to the armed marshals, a team of profilers will survey some of the 40,000 train station cameras for suspicious behavior, according to the AP. Security portals in some stations will add arms and explosives detection, while more metal detectors will also be placed on platforms.

SNCF guards will also be able to search passengers’ luggage when they arrive at stations, and around 30 additional sniffer dogs will be deployed.

 

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