Footage from body-worn cameras has been used successfully to help secure a conviction in a case of physical assault against Transport for London (TfL) staff.
In September 2020, Agris Grisins was asked to leave Baker Street Tube station by four TfL Transport, Support and Enforcement Officers after being verbally abusive to three TfL customer-service station staff. Grisins subsequently became aggressive and abusive towards the officers once outside the station, attempting to force his way through and physically assaulting officers with several kicks.
The strength of the body-worn camera evidence and photographic evidence of the officers’ injuries played a key role in the offender amending his plea to guilty on the day.
Grisins was subsequently found guilty of common assault of two TfL enforcement officers and has been sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment for each assault to run concurrently. When Grisins is released from prison, he will be on licence for a further 12 months.
In a separate incident last month, an individual was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days after physically assaulting TfL staff.
To help reduce workplace violence, 4,500 body-worn cameras have been in operation with staff across the TfL network since the end of 2020. Body worn cameras have been shown to reduce the number of incidents of violence and aggression towards staff, as evidenced in a British Transport Police trial with Cambridge University, which saw a 47 per cent reduction in staff assaults.
When violence does occur, as in this case, camera footage can be used effectively in prosecutions and the court was able to see for itself the professionalism TfL officers showed on the day, despite the aggression shown by the defendant.
Mandy McGregor, head of transport policing and community safety at TfL, said: “This behaviour towards our staff, who were just trying to do their jobs, is completely unacceptable and we’re pleased to see that Grisins is facing the consequences of his actions. Everyone has the right to go about their day without fear or intimidation and we do not tolerate any form of physical or verbal abuse towards our staff or customers. Body worn video footage, like CCTV, continues to provide vital evidence to the police and serves as a powerful deterrent to those who intend on abusing our staff.”
TfL funds around 3,000 police, police community support officers and TfL enforcement officers on its transport network. Activities include high visibility policing, covert patrols with plain clothed officers, targeted action against offenders and encouraging more people to report offences. TfL works closely with the police to prevent violence and aggression towards its staff, as well as ensuring that any assault on staff is fully investigated so that perpetrators are brought to justice as quickly as possible.
In 2020/21, 1,740 offences were reported to the police, relating to violence and aggression against TfL employees and the employees of TfL’s operators and contractors. Of these, nine per cent were physical assaults leading to an injury, 41 per cent were assaults without injury and 50 per cent were public order offences including verbal assaults and threatening behaviour.