Metal detectors, sniffer dogs for drugs and explosives, agents in uniform as well as plainclothes have begun to check the underpasses, and barriers and gates restrict access around the station.
Fortunately nobody seems to mind apart from the small groups of illegal porters who sit and observe the commotion from the stone benches in Piazza Medaglie d’Oro, away from their daily ‘work’ where they once harassed those arriving and leaving. The anti-terrorism controls are a normal sight every year during the summer exodus.
Twenty patrols of agents from the municipality, normal police units and security guards are in place. There’s a total of over one hundred men in the field, 182 identified agents. Cordons surround the entrances on Via Carracci, Piazza Medaglie d’Oro, at the West and East Piazzas. The Prefecture, railways personnel and the city and the regional authorities are considering turnstiles. However, since Bologna is an open and transit station it’s more complex and Rome, Milan and Florence, have had turnstiles already active for a couple of years.
The presence of the first set of controls is being put in place at the station for the August 2 massacre anniversary. The manager of the Bologna Railway Police compartment Francesco De Cicco explains, “It is an extraordinary control service made possible thanks to the synergy with the guards of the Ferrovie dello Stato. We believe that these measures can be a good deterrent. Not only do they give the perception of safety for passengers and those who frequent Bologna Centrale, but it also helps us ensnare more people we suspect of criminal activity and seizures. This extra security apparatus is one of the legacies of the mandates of Matteo Piantedosi and of the Questore Ignazio Coccia. The directive concerning the controls to be enhanced in relation to the risk of terrorist attacks is signed by the Viminale, but the decision to set everything up was made in Bologna.”
In fact, this security blitz recalls those, which have been staged in the Montagnola Park in recent months. Claudio Ricci, head of corporate protection for RFI Italian railway network in Bologna comments that, “It’s definitely a strong and more desirable way compared to the past years. Also we are recording the monitoring the effects of law enforcement in hot areas such as Montagnola and Piazza Verdi, so this is a normal consequence here. It is part of the same design.”
Fortunately around the underpasses, especially at the middle of the central tracks from 3 to 8 at the bottom of the stairs there are no more people to ambush travellers with the excuse of carrying their luggage. Perhaps this is a sign that anti-terrorism measures will begin to play a bigger part of our daily lives now.