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Safety campaign to cut railway staff abuse

The British Transport Police (BTP) is launching a new campaign to protect rail workers from abuse.

The two-week Operation Mainline is part of a wider focus on issues most important to policing, led by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Officers will combat verbal and physical assaults on rail staff through a period of celebrations that can increase the risk of abuse, namely Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Superintendent Phil Wilkinson, who is coordinating the campaign, said: “Train guards, conductors, revenue staff, station staff and even drivers, who are on the front line, are faced with abuse every day, simply for carrying out their role in keeping the railway running.

“In previous years, we have seen incidents where fireworks have been set off in stations, thrown at trains and conductors, causing injuries. We do not want to see a repeat of this, which is why officers will be out in force over this two week period reassuring staff and passengers and deterring this type of mindless criminality.”

Passengers who evade fares and are challenged by staff can be more likely to display anti-social behaviour or even assault, and an increase of those under the influence of alcohol is a factor in aggression against staff. 

Andy Odell, police and security liaison officer for ATOC said: “The combined efforts of train companies and BTP to reduce crime on the network continue to pay off, with a fall in crime rates for nine consecutive years.

“The safety of both passenger and staff is of the utmost importance to us. Rail staff should not be subjected to intimidation, threats or abuse that can be more frequent at this time of year, which is why we will continue to work with BTP in cracking down on anti-social behaviour.”

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