Protecting Rail Staff with Body Worn Cameras

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Delayed services, frustrated passengers and ill-treated inspectors are all detrimental to the rail industry.The rail services have large infrastructure developments planned, with new high-speed lines and the re-opening of previously closed routes. Rail services are looking to use cutting edge technology, not only on the tracks, but also for protecting their staff.

Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) have started proliferating through the rail service to deter aggressive behaviour toward staff and to record evidential quality footage, should an incident escalate.

In 2015/16 rail staff suffered from 6,960 incidents of abuse, with over a quarter of those incidents being physical assaults.

Body Worn Cameras have been proven to change the behaviour of the public toward inspectors to a significant extent, helping to calm potentially aggressive confrontations and reducing incidents of violence.

Edesix has already had success with Northern Rail, where VideoBadge BWCs are used to help the response team capture the complete picture when an incident occurs. The video captures the actions of parties involved and unlike static CCTV cameras, the viewpoint can easily be changed by the officer using it to better record faces or specific body language. Moreover, Edesix VideoBadges capture high-quality audio, allowing for verbal abuse to be recorded. Not all stations have CCTV in place, and even where there are fixed cameras, the team have the flexibility to move through the station and get on and off trains knowing there are no gaps in the coverage they can achieve. This flexibility means that offenders can be more easily identified, making a successful conviction more likely.

In addition, the footage captured can be used to increase the transparency of interactions between officers and members of the public, by showing both sides of the interaction. This helps to refute false complaints against officers and their conduct.

“We wanted full control of the position and angle of the camera to correspond with the current task of the officer. They may be seated in a car, walking along a platform or on a train. Edesix were able to adapt VideoBadge to accommodate this, something that not all providers would be willing or able to do.”

Martyn Guiver, Northern Rail’s Head of Crime

TFL underground has also looked towards Edesix Body Worn Cameras as a tool to fight the 967 incidents of abuse that occurred in 2016/17. More than half were cases of physical abuse. Using Body Worn Cameras increases the feeling of safety for staff and allows passengers to know that there will be a transparent record of an interaction.

Using BWCs will also help increase the number of incidents that are detected. TFL have suggested that they only detect around 50% of assaults or threatening behaviour directed towards rail staff. Coupled with the flexibility of the use of the camera leads to a greater number of successful convictions.