In the wake of the suicide bombing in the St. Petersburg metro last week, Czech defense experts are weighing in on the state of security in the Prague metro—offering city officials a frightening but necessary reality check.
What are Czechs prepared to do in their defense and how are possible terrorist attacks being actively discouraged?
They aren’t, says Lukáš Dyčka, a security analyst from the University of Defense, who recently told Aktualne.cz that the Czech Republic’s counter-terrorism efforts should be much more concrete and “meaningfully promoted.”
Former Chief of Staff of the Czech Army, General Jiří Šedivý, also addressed the openness and potential vulnerability of the Prague metro system:
“It is high time to think about why we are basically doing nothing to ensure the safety of the Prague metro. Every underground is an optimal target for terrorists. The tragedy in St. Petersburg, it just goes to show.”
According to Dyčka, even small things can be done to decrease the terrorist threat, including a more visible security presence in metro stations of the Czech capital, which should be thoroughly monitored by camera.
Soldiers patrolling the area with automatic rifles would be an additional deterrent, he said.
General Šedivý says he took part in a security analysis of the Prague metro years ago:
“We…unfortunately, did not take any substantial safety measures,” he said.
He goes on to say that the Prague metro lacks substantial police coverage in its entrance lobbies and would benefit from random passenger checks.
“Modern checks can also be carried out with cameras that detect faces. At the moment of detection, it is possible to quickly issue a warning or defences. In addition, detectors of explosives should not be too difficult to install,” said General Šedivý.
Dyčka draws attention to other important security areas: the media and psychological risks of terrorist attacks.
“Terrorists want mainly to shock and cause panic. And the media play a crucial role,” said Dyčka.
Psychological resistance to terrorist actions and restrictions on the media would have an impact on their actions, he said.
So far Czech politicians and the general public have shown no interest in improving security measures, according to General Šedivý, despite the fact that terrorist attacks are coming ever closer to Czech borders.