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Train security: France could ban passengers

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Train security: France could ban passengers
Train security agents on French trains would have greater powers of detention under the proposed new rules. Photo: AFP
10:38 CEST+02:00
Under draft plans aimed to beef up security on its train network after the recent foiled terror attack, France looks set to impose an outright travel ban on certain individuals.

The proposals announced by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve would pave the way for random bag checks on the nation's trains and see increased numbers of armed patrols on the railway network. Europe 1 radio reports.

The measures would also see much greater powers handed to those charged with policing French trains.

“Until now train safety security agents haven't been able to carry out passengers searches even if a passenger agreed. All this needs to be clarified,” Socialist MP for Gironde Gilles Savary told Europe 1.

Savary, who has been working on details of a bill to fight against travel fraud, also said those agents would have greater powers of detention, and would be able to use force against passengers in a wider range of contexts.

“There will always be risks, of course, but I think we can minimize them by threatening those who threaten us with random controls,” the MP added.

Significantly, the new measures could also see the introduction of bans for individuals from all trains, along the lines of current stadium bans for football hooligans.

The new French proposals would also see the resisting of rain security agents be made a crime, a move which would see authorities able to take action against passengers thought to be dangerous.

The reforms could affect both SNCF rail traffic and commuter trains in Paris as well as the Metro.

The raft of possible changes comes in the wake of a meeting of European ministers on Saturday looking at train safety.

The ministers from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland called for increased checks on passengers and baggage at major stations and for the European Commission to tighten gun laws.

That meeting was called after a foiled jihadist attack on a train from Amsterdam to Paris on August 21st.

French prosecutors have charged Ayoub El Khazzani, a 25-year-old Moroccan, with the "targeted and premeditated" attack after he stepped out of a toilet cubicle with an assault rifle, 270 rounds of ammunition and a Luger pistol strapped to his chest.

He was quickly overpowered by a group of French, British and American passengers, who have since been awarded France's top honour, the Legion d'Honneur.

The draft French laws are set to be presented to the government on September 15th.

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