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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Rail passenger safety

It's safe to travel by rail in Britain but you should still be aware of your belongings and your surroundings. Get advice on how to protect yourself and feel safer when you're on a train or at a station.

Keeping safe at train stations and on the train

Train stations can be crowded at peak times and you may feel vulnerable waiting at empty stations at night. When using train stations, make sure you stay safe by:

  • checking the timetables before you arrive at the station to reduce the time you have to wait on the platform
  • standing in well-lit areas and trying to stay in sight of CCTV cameras or close to other people
  • being alert to people around you and looking confident and certain of where you’re going when leaving the station

Boarding the train

When you're getting on a train, make sure you:

  • choose a carriage where you feel comfortable - move to another area if you feel nervous or vulnerable
  • note where the emergency alarm is located - you may feel safer knowing where you can get help if you need it

Safer train stations: the secure stations scheme

More than a third of all train stations are part of the secure stations scheme. This means the station operators are committed to making passengers and station staff feel safe by improving security at the station.

Stations that are accredited under the scheme have to show they are working to make the station safe through things like:

  • using anti-graffiti paint on walls and fences to prevent vandalism
  • installing CCTV and monitoring it regularly
  • providing good lighting through the station and on the platforms
  • making sure the station is set out clearly, with well-marked entrances and exits
  • clearly displaying signs, maps and timetables and passenger help points
  • carrying out a user survey to check whether passengers feel safe using the station

The staff should be trained to help passengers and patrol the station, especially during quiet times. They should respond quickly to any problems, give regular information to passengers and encourage passengers to report any crime.

The stations accredited under the secure stations scheme should have a 'statement of intent' displayed clearly inside the station. This sets out:

  • who you can contact for reporting complaints and incidents
  • the maximum amount of time you would have to wait when asking for help from staff
  • the station's commitment to the personal security of its staff, which includes prosecuting anyone who threatens or assaults a staff member

For a list of accredited stations, follow the link below.

Looking after your belongings

Keep an eye on your belongings when you're on the train and at the station - especially when it's crowded. Check that your luggage is:

  • secured with a zip or lock - keep any valuables, like your wallet or mp3 player, out of sight
  • stowed where you can see it if it's too large to keep with you on the train

If you think you may fall asleep on the train, put one arm through the strap of your bag. Hold it close to you to secure it.

If you see an unattended bag or package, alert the train or station staff or a police officer immediately.

Using your mobile phone

Mobile phones are a common target for thieves on crowded trains or at stations. When using your phone on a train or at a station:

  • be aware of your surroundings
  • try not to walk and talk
  • put your phone out of sight when you aren’t using it and don’t leave it lying around

See 'Protecting your mobile phone' for more advice about preventing theft of your mobile phone.

How to report a crime on the railways

The British Transport Police (BTP) works on the railways to protect passengers and railway staff.

If you see, or are involved in, an incident on a train or at a station, respond in a way you feel comfortable with. This could be:

  • shouting to alert rail staff
  • ringing the police - in an emergency, dial 999

Get to safety first and then raise the alarm. Intervene if you feel confident doing so or step forward as a witness after the incident.

If you witness or are a victim of a crime, you can call the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.

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