Crackdown on antisocial behaviour across North London rail routes

Govia Thameslink Railway launches plan following a 23% increase in verbal staff assaults and almost a 10% increase in physical staff

A Great Northern train at Enfield Chase Station
A Great Northern train at Enfield Chase Station

The rail firm operating routes in North London has announced a crackdown on antisocial behaviour, abuse and disorder across its network.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) – which runs both Great Northern and Thameslink trains through Enfield, Haringey and Barnet – has announced it is investing £2.5million to help the business tackle abuse and disorder through its new antisocial behaviour improvement plan.

The plan has been developed following a 23% increase in verbal staff assaults and almost a 10% increase in physical staff assaults across the rail operator’s network over the past year.

Feedback was captured following numerous workshops within GTR, as well as consulting other stakeholders including local schools, police forces and trade unions.

The plan sets out commitments to rolling out over 1,500 new body worn video (BWV) cameras to frontline staff, doubling the number of travel safe officers across the network, developing an education programme for schools, improving training and aftercare so staff feel supported, hiring more staff in safety division, and working closer with policing and prosecutions teams to remove offenders from the railway.

GTR has already produced personal guides to security and wellbeing, which have been issued to all of its 7,000+ colleagues. It has also doubled the number of travel safe officers on its network, who are deployed using data-led insight to support British Transport Police (BTP) and other staff on the ground. This targeted approach has led to a 13% reduction in staff assaults, according to BTP statistics.

With 80% of staff reports about assault citing verbal abuse, threatening behaviour and foul language, the rail operator is also working with British Transport Police’s ‘workplace violence co-ordination unit’ to support colleagues that have experienced assault of any kind whilst at work.

In addition, it is introducing 1,542 new BWV cameras to staff to provide better evidence when trying to convict criminals.

Samantha Facey, health, safety and security director at GTR, said: “The rise in antisocial behaviour is being felt across industries and communities nationwide. Whilst we cannot solve the problem on our own, we hope that with increased tools and resources, as well as closer working with other industry partners, we can begin to turn the dial on this kind of behaviour.

“Everyone travelling with us deserves to get home safely, and our colleagues deserve to be treated with respect; physical or verbal abuse of any kind will not be tolerated. Our Antisocial Behaviour Improvement Plan not only demonstrates that we are serious about tackling this issue, but we are also seeing positive results since its launch.”

Chief Superintendent at BTP, Chris Casey, added: “We are focused on ensuring stations and trains remains a safe and pleasant environment for the travelling public and for railway staff. We will continue to work closely with our partners in the rail industry and in local communities to tackle and prevent antisocial behaviour, and prosecute those that threaten and abuse others on the railway network.

“We understand how intimidating antisocial behaviour can be, and anyone who witnesses or experiences anti-social behaviour can discreetly contact our text-to-report number 61016 to report the incident without alerting anyone else.”

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