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SECURITY ON THE MOSCOW METRO

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, (RIA Novosti commentator Vyacheslav Lashkul)

Up to 10 million passengers use the Moscow metro every day. The system's tracks cover over 600km and there are 170 stations. How is security provided in such a sprawling complex? Dmitry Gayev, the head of the Moscow underground, gives RIA Novosti the answer to this question.

There are four main aspects to this extremely important problem. The first is technological security. We provide priority financing under fixed articles in the metro's budget for everything needed to maintain vehicles in good working order. At the same time, we also oversee the introduction of new machinery and trains, escalators and power equipment. Moreover, we never use transport equipment or transformer substations that do not meet safety requirements. Our foreign colleagues are even surprised sometimes at what they see as our occasionally excessive demands on system safety.

Fire safety is critical for the underground. We have an improvement program approved by the Moscow government, and spend about 250 million rubles on it every year. Thanks to our fire safety measures, we managed to prevent major fires when a homemade explosive device went off between the Tulskaya and Nagatinskaya metro stations (1996), and then between Avtozavodskaya and Paveletskaya. We recently tested an advanced fire safety system and began producing it. It is so sensitive that it can detect a fire in its early stages. This is very important, because we have many power installations in generally crowded places. The use of a modern automated system lets us spot defects in cable commutators or fires in remote tunnels.

Thanks to the Russian Interior Ministry and the Mayor's Office, we have be able to increase the number of police officers ensuring security in the underground, and expanded the dog handlers unit. Today, we have 60 sniffer dogs, but we intend to have 100. We have built wonderful premises for our four-footed friends, who help us provide security in the underground.

The interior minister has instructed the 55th division of the Interior Ministry's troops to focus on the metro. We employ up to 1,000 servicemen of this division to maintain public order in the underground and in the adjoining areas in close cooperation with the Interior Affairs Department. We are doing a lot of work to install close circuit television, which also broadcasts to police subdivisions in the metro and to other metro officials.

Last year, we applied a new form of cooperation between law-enforcers and passengers. For example, a glass police room was set up at the Okhotny Ryad station. The policeman on duty can see people, and vice versa. This room is fitted out with equipment to control the situation at the station and quickly contact any local police post. In parallel, we are introducing mobile group patrols so that one or two policemen on duty at a station can be rapidly reinforced in an emergency.



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