Figures released by Northern Rail show a large reduction in the number of assaults on staff.
Physical assaults against railway staff were down 38% year-on-year in 2013. Last year saw 95 reported incidents taking place, half the number there were in 2009, which saw 186 incidents reported.
Says Gary Stewart, Northern’s Safety and Assurance Director, ‘We have implemented a successful ‘Stay Safe’ conflict avoidance programme that trains our frontline teams on how to deal with potentially threatening situations and provides them with the tools to diffuse them calmly. Our ‘Stay Safe’ roadshows run throughout the year to reach as many of our employees as possible around our network.’ Much of the success is down to targeting trouble spots – often where alcohol is involved – with police.
‘Alongside our industry partners the British Transport Police, we have also run operations to resolve issues on specific lines of routes where alcohol-related problems have been prolific,’ says Gary. ‘We want to ensure our employees and customers feel safe and that others understand we will not tolerate anti- social behaviour or excessive alcohol consumption on-board our services.’
A special ‘Rail Response Team’ now patrols the network. ‘Any assault on a member of our staff is completely unacceptable and every one of them has the right to feel safe while they carry out their duties,’ adds Gary.