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Northern employees to be trained to support vulnerable passengers

The train operator Northern are introducing an innovative inclusion process that will see the training of its 7,000-strong workforce in how to identify vulnerable individuals on the railway, whilst acquiring the skillset and confidence to intervene when necessary.

Across Northern’s network, conductors, customer service and station staff will interact will tens of millions of passengers throughout a year. The operator acts as the second largest in the UK, seeing nearly 2,000 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

This extreme exposure to the general public will naturally see staff members encounter passengers subject to abuse, addiction and intimidation who may require aid at vital times in their journeys. Northern’s staff will soon have the confidence to act when they spot something ‘not quite right’ requires the right skills and a knowledge of the best ‘next steps’ to help the person in need.

This training programme will be provided via the charity ‘Railway Children,’ who focusses on the identification of individuals at risk across the UK rail sector. The training will strive to teach early forms of intervention that will produce a proactive response to difficult situations, rather than being reactive to passenger distress.

Tricia Williams, chief operating officer at Northern said:

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do – and being able to spot those in need, whether they approach our teams for help or not, is really important.”

Commenting on the roll-out of training by Northern, Acting Superintendent Dave Rams, head of crime and public protection at BTP, said:

 “We welcome this positive action by Northern.

“Rail staff are the eyes and ears of the rail network and if they report their concerns, they will help us protect people.”

In 2020, British Transport Police intervened in 25,997 cases involving vulnerable people. This included county lines activity, mental health crisis, domestic abuse, and child sexual exploitation

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