20 September 2018
RMT Press Office:
RMT reaction to revelations that the British Transport Police have been conducting surveillance on LUL front line staff
TUBE UNION RMT today reacted with astonishment after revelations that the British Transport Police (BTP) have been carrying out covert spying operations on London Underground (LUL) front line staff.
Even more astonishing is the revelations that these BTP officers engaged in fare evasion including double gating and other acts of anti-social behaviour to “gauge staff reaction”. Double gating is where a fare-dodger slips through the gate behind a fare-payer. All this was done in real time, live, when the station – Piccadilly Circus – was fully open to the public .
With fare evasion and anti-social behaviour at an all-time high on the tube – and staff morale at rock bottom – the fact that this kind of stunt was considered is astonishing. For it to actually go ahead is simply disgusting and LUL staff have rightly reacted with disgust.
The excuse given for these exercises being carried out was apparently because of rising crime in the Piccadilly Circus area and the BTP wanting to know why.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“LUL staff keep the service running and London moving under very difficult circumstances. This happens in face of massive understaffing, low morale and rising crime.
“For the British Transport Police to carry out undercover spying on LUL staff and engage in provocative acts of fare evasion and anti-social behaviour is both morally reprehensible and potentially dangerous.
“For many years now RMT have been bringing to the attention of Tube bosses and the BTP major concerns about rising crime and lack of resource. This includes poor police numbers and deployment model, serious understaffing of Tube stations including many Tube stations on a daily basis being left unstaffed. This is on top of an ongoing – 12 year – recruitment freeze of LUL inspectors who deal with this kind of crime leaving that department with over 100 vacancies.
“RMT have asked the Managing Director of London Underground for a formal investigation and will be taking this matter up with the head of the BTP.
“The BTP would be far better served using their resources actually catching real criminals instead of spying on LUL staff and engaging in provocative behaviour.”