Having issued its front-line staff with body-worn cameras last year – the first UK train operator to do so – Virgin Trains is acquiring a further 250 cameras with which to equip further staff working across the network, including station staff and on-board teams.
Following a pilot scheme between February and September 2018, which resulted in a marked reduction in assaults on its staff, Virgin Trains initially introduced 275 cameras in September last year.
The pilot between February 2018 and September 2018, saw a reduction in assaults on Virgin Trains staff. Further analysis has seen physical assaults on Virgin Trains’ employees drop by 30 per cent in the period between April and September 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.
As a result of the success of the soft launch, body-worn cameras were adopted across the network for revenue protection officers at ticket barriers and to train managers .
In addition, the British Transport Police was granted direct access to footage from the cameras to carry out investigations where needed. To do this, and in another UK-first move, Virgin Trains uses a state-of-the-art cloud-based system that allows footage to be viewed when the cameras are docked – speeding up investigations and possible prosecutions.
Virgin Trains safety director Dave Whitehouse said: “The safety of our staff and customers is paramount and body-worn cameras play an important role in helping us to keep our network safe. The feedback is that our staff feel more confident and reassured wearing the equipment while working on the network. It’s only natural that more of our people should have access to using it.
“Body-worn Cameras act as a deterrent, but if one of our people is subjected to an assault or there is another incident involving our customers, the technology is also there to quickly provide evidence to the British Transport Police.”
Sergeant Lakhveer Singh, of British Transport Police, said: “Virgin Trains announcement of more body worn cameras for their staff has the full support of British Transport Police. We know from experience that body worn video is a fantastic piece of kit, that helps us in securing convictions against those who target staff with unnecessary violence or abuse.”