Tyne & Wear Metro workers to wear body cameras in fight-back against threats to staff

Metro staff are to be given body cameras following a spate of attacks.

Saturday, 2nd February 2019, 08:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:02 pm

Bosses at Nexus, which runs the transport service, have ordered 45 cameras, which its workers will be expected to wear throughout their shifts.

But while threats against people working on the Metro has increased, managers also believe the overall number of crimes being committed on the system has fallen.

Transport chiefs took questions from the North East Joint Transport Committee Tyne and Wear Sub-Committee on Thursday.

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Chris Carson, Nexus’s Metro Services Director, said: “We believe crime itself is lower and incidents like ASB have come down, but sometimes the seriousness of them, we think, has gone up.

“Some of our CSAs (customer service advisors) have been assaulted and so we’ve just procured 45 new body cameras. Every CSA will be expected to wear one on duty.”

According to a report prepared for the panel more than a tenth of delays in 2018/19 were related to ‘customer service issues’.

This included anti-social behaviour on trains and at stations, but also passengers being ill on trains and crowding on trains and platforms.

In March this year, Nexus is due to begin a programme to replace CCTV cameras at its Metro stations.

It also plans to increase its number of CSAs from 98 to 104 in April 2019.

Sunderland councillor Amy Wilson: “I don’t see why our public should suffer because of one drunken, idiotic person causing a problem.

“If it’s a powerline or a track problem that’s one thing, but when it’s a disruptive person that shouldn’t be happening.”

Ratings from Nexus’s customer satisfaction surveys, which it runs every six months, showed a slight decrease in the mark passengers gave for security.

In May 2014 the average score was 7.4, but by May 2016 this fell to 7.0 and the most recent survey, held in November, had recovered only slightly, to 7.1.

Tobyn Hughes, Nexus’s managing director, told the meeting: “There’s nothing about our Metro system which generates crime. We reflect crime in the society we traverse.

“Our job is to make passengers feel as safe as they can and the exercise is to give the message that we do care and are trying to manage it.”

 

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service