Greater Anglia rolls out body cams for train staff in bid to curb assaults
PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:53 23 September 2019
A train operator hopes fitting staff with body cameras will help keep them safer on the job.
Greater Anglia is issuing "badge cams" to its all conductors to deter assaults on on-board staff - of which around eight are currently recorded each month - and anti-social behaviour.
The badge cams are constantly recording but do not actively store footage until activated via a flap.
Green and red lights and a camera symbol will indicate to passengers when a recording is being made.
Once activated the camera will record until stopped and also automatically stores 30 seconds of footage prior to activation, which Greater Anglia hopes could catch escalating situations.
Nathan Long, a senior conductor at Greater Anglia who was recently assaulted by a passenger who threw a drink at him, believes the badge cams will provide reassurance for staff and travellers.
"On some of the later London services that can be busy with revellers, people see it and it makes them feel safer," he said.
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"And because the camera helps prevent altercations from escalating, everyone on the train feels calmer and safer."
Mark Burgess Lawrence, crime and intelligence manager at Greater Anglia, said: "We want to protect our staff at all times, and the badge cams will help to stop disagreements escalating to the point where someone becomes abusive.
"Assaults on other customers are thankfully extremely rare, so this is about protecting our staff - but everyone benefits as it's unsettling for everyone when an altercation occurs."
The majority of offences against rail staff are from minor issues such as staff challenging travellers with an incorrect ticket.
Common assault without injury is the most commonly reported offence, with most involving spitting, grabbing clothes and pushing victims.
Alcohol is a major factor in staff assaults with those under the influence more likely to become aggressive.
Sgt Paul Thompson from the British Transport Police said body cameras were an effective tool.
He said: "The rolling out of these devices to train operators is very welcome. It ensures their employees are given the safety afforded by personal cameras, and when the worst happens and a staff member is assaulted, there is strong evidence ready to be used."