Investment in bodycams reduces assaults on staff by more than half
Virgin Trains and British Transport Police are increasing employee safety by deploying 275 body cameras on frontline staff.
Assaults on staff across the Virgin Trains network have fallen by more than half following the decision to provide all frontline employees with body worn cameras.
Following a pilot scheme, Virgin Trains had rolled out 275 cameras by February 2018, helping assaults on Virgin Trains staff to reduce each month, from 20 in March 2018 to six in September.
Results from a survey revealed that more than 80 per cent of staff felt safer at work while wearing bodycams and nearly 90 per cent would recommend them to colleagues.
Virgin Trains has given the British Transport Police direct access to the camera footage thanks to a cloud-based system that allows them to view the footage when the cameras are docked – speeding up investigations and possible prosecutions.
The introduction of bodycams has already led to one conviction, where a man pleaded guilty to a public order offence following an incident in April 2018 on a train in Wolverhampton.
Lewis Komodromou, a Revenue Protection Team Leader for Virgin Trains, said: “My colleagues feel much safer wearing the bodycams and they have more confidence in situations which could escalate. The response has been really positive. Since the bodycams have been introduced it has stopped lots of situations that could otherwise get out of hand. The bodycams have also been great for passing on evidence needed for the BTP.”
Research across the rail industry showed that when rail employees at station barriers wore bodycams as part of a trial in 2017, physical assaults against those wearing the technology fell by almost half and assaults against all employees fell by 26 per cent.
This trial was commissioned as part of the rail industry’s commitment to continually improve security and was conducted by the University of Cambridge with five train operators, including Virgin Trains, the British Transport Police (BTP) and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
Chief Inspector Lorna McEwan, of The British Transport Police, said: “The introduction of body worn cameras is an important step along the road in helping to ensure the safety of rail staff and passengers alike. Being assaulted or verbally abused simply for doing your job is completely unacceptable. No one should ever have to feel unsafe – especially when they are at work – and these cameras will help provide us with vital evidence should the inexcusable happen.”
Work is now underway between rail companies and the BTP to develop a rollout of the technology across the country.
Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the RDG, said: “We’re proud of Britain’s railway having such a strong safety record but as an industry we are always looking at ways we can make it even safer. One assault against a rail worker is one too many. Our research shows that body cameras can make a difference – cutting assaults on staff by almost half. We’re now working together as an industry to develop plans to roll out this technology nationwide.”