Wales

Transport for Wales staff to wear body cameras as violence rises

Body camera Image copyright Transport for Wales
Image caption Cameras will be issued to staff, including conductors and station staff, as part of a trial

Selected train staff in Wales will be issued with body cameras to tackle violence and antisocial behaviour.

Over 350 incidents of physical violence towards staff and members of the public were recorded in Wales last year.

Additional security staff have already been introduced and there is a commitment to provide CCTV cameras at every station across the network.

Transport for Wales said the latest move was part of a trial to improve the safety of customers and staff.

British Transport Police recorded 359 incidents of violence towards staff or members of the public across Wales in 2018-19.

That is up from 293 incidents in 2017-18 and 214 in 2016-17.

There were also 364 incidents of public disorder related to rail travel in Wales in 2018-19, compared to 307 in 2017-18 and 200 in 2016-17.

Transport for Wales, which oversees the Wales and Borders franchise, said that while the number of incidents was "small" in relation to its total passenger and journey numbers, any incident "should not be tolerated".

Image copyright Transport for Wales
Image caption Four different types of camera will be used in the trial

Conductor Marc Clancy said most customers were polite but at times staff were subjected to abuse.

"The introduction of these cameras should act as a deterrent to antisocial behaviour, support assault prosecutions and boost public confidence in safety," he said.

"They will provide our front-line staff with more confidence when dealing with difficult situations and abusive customers."

Supt Andrew Morgan of British Transport Police said: "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."

The cameras will be issued to selected railway staff including conductors and station staff as part of a trial involving four different camera types.

After a review period one company will be chosen to provide 300 cameras across the network.

Image caption Ken Skates: "The rail staff there to help us are no different to our family and friends"

Transport Minister Ken Skates said the cameras were intended to be a "robust deterrent to anti-social behaviour" that would "support assault prosecutions, and boost public confidence with cameras acting as a deterrent".

"The rail staff there to help us are no different to our family and friends.

"We must stamp out antisocial behaviour and do everything we can to support staff to do their jobs and let passengers make their journeys in a safe and pleasant environment."

In a statement to assembly members, Mr Skates said the camera trials would be held in Machynlleth, Holyhead, Cardiff and Carmarthen.

After the review Transport for Wales would "work towards rolling out the introduction of body worn cameras to all train staff", he said.

The plans were welcomed by Conservative transport spokesman Russell George.

However he added it was a "regrettable sign of the times" that Transport for Wales staff "going about their jobs require body cameras for protection, and to tackle violence against them and passengers, as well as anti-social behaviour".

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