Northern employees begin training to spot vulnerable passengers

Northern have started to train their workforce on how to spot vulnerable passengers and how to have the confidence to intervene.

A northern employee engaging with a passenger

Credit: Northern

Northern have begun the process of training its 7,000-strong workforce in how to spot vulnerable people on the railway, and in how to have the confidence to intervene.

Northern’s conductors, customer service and station staff interact with tens of millions of passengers a year, among which will be people subject to abuse, addiction, and intimidation. Having 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. The training is provided by the charity ‘Railway Children’, whose work focusses on identifying individuals at risk and helping with early forms of intervention.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do,” Tricia Williams, Chief Operating Officer at Northern, said. “Being able to spot those in need, whether they approach our teams for help or not, is really important.”

 “We welcome this positive action by Northern,” Dave Rams, Acting Superintendent at British Transport Police, said. “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. Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with nearly 2,000 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

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