Safer and faster for all: the new security platform

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Article: Safer and faster for all: the new security platform

12/2021 - With the new security platform, risks will be recognised more quickly in the future. Security-relevant information from all areas of the DB Group will be brought together in one system in future. This can increase safety and security on trains and in stations and ensure greater satisfaction among employees and passengers.

Deutsche Bahn and its employees stand for safe travel. To ensure that this remains the case despite the constantly changing security situation, "Safe Travels", the first employee building block from the corporate strategy "Strong Rail" was launched in the spring 2020. The aim is to use a modern IT solution, called Corporate Security Platform, to record and evaluate all events affecting actual or perceived safety and security in real time to be able to respond immediately. Because time and again, there are incidents in trains or at stations that affect the individual sense of security of employees or passengers or even pose an actual threat. In 2020 alone, over 100,000 security incidents were recorded nationwide: from violation of DB territory rules and regulations to criminal offences. Vandalism or graffiti account for the largest share of this. More serious, however, are the approximately 2,000 attacks on staff.  

DB security forces in action against graffiti sprayers
DB security forces in action against graffiti sprayers

Listen to your gut feeling 

Mike Schneider is Head of the Policy Organisation in Corporate Security. As a former train driver, he knows the situation on the ground from his own experience. "There doesn't always have to be an actual threat, sometimes it's just a gut feeling in certain situations." And if you go to work with a queasy feeling, that in turn also makes passengers feel insecure. The current system is not designed for a subjective sense of security. "There are already applications that train drivers, train and service staff can use to record specific incidents," says André Zinkhan, IT project manager at DB Systel. "You use it to report, for example, if you have been insulted, threatened or even assaulted or coerced on the train or in a shift." This data is stored in the system of the respective business unit but has not yet been centrally consolidated. The handling of events that require intervention, for example, does not take place centrally with an overview of the situation, but mostly in a decentralised way and often according to very different standards. Automatic collection and central provision of this information in real time has hardly been possible so far. Each issue is assessed and analysed manually as far as possible. It can take a week or more from a security-relevant event or information from an employee being reported to the relevant analysis and action being taken.  

"Employees should receive quick feedback. Sometimes it is enough to say that we have taken on the case, we are analysing it and we will see what we can do."

Mike Schneider, Head of the Policy Organisation in Corporate Security, DB AG

Mike Schneider

"If nothing happens after a report, it is frustrating," explains Mike Schneider. "Employees should get quick feedback. Sometimes it is enough to tell us that we have taken on the case, we are analysing it and we will see what we can do," says Mike Schneider. "In this day and age with all the possibilities of digital technology, they should not have to wait seven days". In addition to shortening processing times and optimising existing processes, the innovative use of technology will also open completely new avenues in security management. Making use of these opportunities and redesigning existing systems is the clearly addressed concern of the employees who are involved in the strategic "Safe Travels" building block.  

Safe travels
Safe travels

Corporate Security responded quickly and, as early as June 2020, put together the project team whose goal it is to build the new Corporate Security Platform. The project management was organised by DB Management Consulting, DB's own team of consultants. DB Systel was on board as a partner from the very beginning. For André Zinkhan, it is a very special project: "It is totally fulfilling and exciting. We are working with employees from across the DB Group on an interdisciplinary and visionary project. Through this collaboration, we have developed a better understanding of what they face when it comes to ensuring the safety and security of our passengers and other staff. We are also collecting ideas on what the future could look like. Our vision is to equip everyone with the tools to make life easier and safer." 

Promising tests with the first applications 

Technical concepts were drawn up in July 2021. It is currently being determined which technology can be used to implement the highly diverse use cases. The platform is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2022. But tests with the first applications are already showing what is possible using the platform. With the "Prio-Ruf" application, employees can call for help using a mobile phone, smartphone or Bluetooth button. "We have successfully tested this at DB Regio and DB Station & Service," says André Zinkhan. Another application is a mandatory security query, which is already in productive use at DB Regio and is also being tested in other business units: employees have to answer five questions on their smartphones at the end of their shift by clicking on icons – and thus quickly and easily provide information on whether there were any security-relevant incidents. 

"Our vision is to make life easier and safer for these people."

André Zinkhan, IT Project Manager, DB Systel GmbH

André Zinkhan

"We are in a very privileged position when it comes to testing our ideas," says Mike Schneider. "Collaborating with and supporting the business units means that we can present prototypes to them, get their feedback and incorporate this into the next stages of development. We might get the answer, for example, that you can't use your mobile phone with your gloves in a dangerous situation in winter Above all, however, he is pleased about the first positive results. For example, during the piloting of a mobile solution on a route that was not even on the radar, there were many low-level security incidents. These incidents had not previously made it into any current statistics as there were no specific assaults. But the employees had subjectively felt uncomfortable, which is why a hot spot patrol with security personnel was arranged. "This provided more security, not just subjectively. Almost more importantly, the colleagues felt that their concerns were being taken seriously This is just one example of how the Corporate Security Platform will incorporate new and more diverse sources of information to enable a holistic assessment of security risks and the subsequent development of approaches to address them. 

Not promises, actual help 

Of course, even a digital solution like the Corporate Security Platform cannot guarantee absolute security. "We don't want to raise false hopes. After all, a call for help is only of use if you can also provide help." Rather, it is about support, for example, when an additional security patrol boards the train. "Our big goal is to actively support our colleagues so that they feel better about their working day. And, of course, that also has an impact on our customers," explains Mike Schneider. The Corporate Security Platform now provides an improved basis for this. 

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