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ScotRail to almost triple its supply of body cameras amid ‘increase’ in attacks on staff

ScotRail is to nearly triple the number of bodycams available to staff amid growing concerns about attacks on train workers.

The rail operator plans to increase its stock of 320 bodycams to 900.

Mick Hogg from transport union RMT says wearing the devices would be voluntary for ticket collectors and other frontline staff.

“From a union perspective, we actively encourage all our members to use the cameras because it does work.

“The truth of the matter is that antisocial behaviour on Scotland’s trains is on the increase.

“The situation is getting worse, there’s no doubt.

Staff are verbally abused and spat on

“Staff are getting verbally abused, getting physically assaulted, getting spat on.”

Mick says if a train worker is wearing a bodycam it acts as a deterrent against abuse.

He says as soon as an aggressive passenger sees the camera “their behaviour immediately changes.”

“We certainly encourage our members to use the body cameras. If it does anything, then it’s there as a deterrent.”

ScotRail says British Transport Police can use vital evidence picked up by bodycams to investigate incidents.

This has in the past led to the conviction and imprisonment of offenders.

However, many rail workers choose not to wear them.

“There’s not a massive uptake of the cameras, so that’s unfortunate,” says Mick.

He added that he would like to see them more widely used but this would have to be on a voluntary basis.

Train staff could strike if situation gets ‘out of control’ says RMT

Mick says most abuse happens on trains and at stations, and “particularly at weekends”.

However, some ScotRail workers have also suffered online abuse.

He says the union is in regular dialogue with Transport Scotland, British Transport Police and ScotRail over how to tackle antisocial behaviour.

And he added that if abuse of train staff ever gets “out of control” then the union “won’t hesitate in taking whatever action we feel appropriate”.

“If Scotland’s trains become a magnet for antisocial behaviour, then the most vulnerable people within society are going to be denied access to Scotland’s trains.

“So we want to work with all the authorities concerned in order to send the right signal to everyone within society, including the disabled and the most vulnerable, that Scotland’s trains are there for everyone.”

ScotRail inviting bids from new suppliers

ScotRail bodycams

ScotRail is currently looking for new suppliers to provide staff with bodycams.

The contract with the current providers is coming to an end.

According to the rail operator, its supply of 320 amounts to half the number of bodycams available across the whole of the UK rail network.

And that is about to be increased to 900.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “ScotRail works very closely with British Transport Police to ensure that Scotland’s Railway is a safe environment for our customers, and our own people.

“Antisocial behaviour, whether that’s physical violence, verbal abuse or any other form, is completely unacceptable. We do everything we can to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority and initiatives such as body-worn cameras are having a positive impact, helping everyone to enjoy travelling across the country.”

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