Shanghai subway security authorities said on Tuesday that they plan to improve security checks and increase the number of female inspectors at stations across the city in the name of public safety.
The authorities said on Tuesday that public security measures in place at the city’s 282 subway stations this year have so far discovered hundreds of kiloliters of combustible liquids and 40,000 dangerous items, for which half of the latter were confiscated from passengers.
“Combustible goods pose the biggest threat to public security,” Song Youguo, a press officer for subway inspection authorities, said on Tuesday at a press conference. “That’s why we plan to invest more in efforts to prevent such materials from entering trains.”
He also said that authorities will assign more female staff to oversee subway security checks, saying that women now only account a third of such staff.
“Passengers and inspectors have had several disputes recently,” he said. “Women tend to be more amicable, so they could be better for the job.”
Song added that passengers with complaints about any of its some 6,000 subway officers – inspectors and security guards who man 500 subway checkpoints and check an average of 1.5 million items daily – are welcome to file reports to the subway inspection authority’s official Sina microblog or hot line at 6318-9188.
He said that authorities are taking such reports seriously, adding that officers investigated a case of reported complaints to its microblog earlier this month, when a passenger and inspector got into a physical dispute after the rider refused to have his bag checked.
Song added that 20 investigations into similar incidents since the start of the year have resulted in the dismissal of 25 inspectors.
But dismissing staff will not solve the problem, according to Gu Jianguang, director of the administration for the School of International and Public Affairs at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, who said effective public security measures that ensure both passenger safety and quality service are needed.
He suggested that inspectors adopt more portable scanning devices that would allow passengers to be checked as they enter stations when checkpoint queues are too lengthy.
“The officers should also explain the checks to commuters and let them know what they are doing so more people understand that cooperating with them is for their own safety,” he told the Global Times on Tuesday. “That may also to help reduce conflicts between both sides.”