Monday, 8 November 2010

Securing the line - DRS and policing the railway

Telegrammed by Our International Correspondent
The legendary impartial TV reporting of Sky News will be under detailed scrutiny by Direct Rail Services at their Carlisle HQ this week, after some rail-related unpleasantness in Germany.

Sky says (without attribution) that 17,000 Polizie are deployed against 250 Greenpeace protestors blocking a train of reprocessed nuclear waste in transit to a deep level waste storage depot in Northern Germany.

DRS will be watching events closely because although they were set up by BNFL when the late Max Joule got hacked off with Railfreight Distribution and later EWS and decided to have his own train set, they are now a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, sharing with Barbie Rail the distinction of being a nationalised train operator.

NDA is responsible for the demolition of our nuclear legacy of Magnox Power Stations, and identifying deep level sites to store the glowing waste – a £12 billion project, for which public consultation ends on 24 November.

NDA have said that rail will be preferred over road as a matter of policy and so all the rail haulage work is heading DRS’s way.It is, after all, what they do, and they have been meticulously developing their loco fleet in anticipation, including 24 of the latest low-emission Class 66s.

But security for the lucrative traffic may be a headache.

The timings and routing of DRS nuclear trains are not published – thanks to Section 79 of the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 - but somehow Greenpeace finds them.

British Transport Police can field 2,837 bobbies, although not all at once or in the same place.

The Polonium Plod can provide another 1000 officers.

If Sky’s numbers are right (a very big IF) and if Greenpeace UK are as effective as their German colleagues (rather less of an IF), the decommissioning project is short of policing resources – by 13,000 bodies.

Fortunately £12 billion should neatly mop up all the redundant county force coppers who fall victim to the Spending review, creating the Best Little Police Force money can buy.