28 September 2018
RMT Press Office:
As Northern staff strike again tomorrow for safety RMT reveals shocking surge in crime on unstaffed stations
In advance of tomorrow’s strike action over Northern Rail’s plans for Driver Only trains, rail union RMT says that new statistics released by the British Transport Police (BTP) show that guards are needed to stem a shocking surge in crime on unstaffed stations.
The BTP figures show that all crime in the area served by the Northern franchise (BTP C Division Pennine) increased by 4.09% to 7,611 offences in the year. Violence against the person has increased by a shocking 19.38%.
The statistics include 382 serious assaults, 809 common assaults, 2 firearm/explosive offences, 167 sexual crimes including 100 sexual offences against females, and 1522 instances of theft of passenger property:
* Violence against the person increased by 19.38%
* Line of route offences increased by 4.91%
* Theft of passenger property increased by 7.94%.
* Robbery increased by 7.69%
* Theft of railway property increased by 8.48%
At the 330 unstaffed stations on Northern routes, protection and assistance for passengers and the train driver at stations is currently provided by the guard who is on all trains.
Northern is planning for at least 50% of services to have no guards with many lines and routes completely unstaffed. RMT is warning that removing the guard from trains, which will then also travel through 330 unstaffed stations, will result in a cocktail of dangers where passengers and the train driver are more exposed to crime and anti-social behaviour while disabled and older passengers will not be able to get on and off the train when they wish to.
All RMT members working for Arriva Rail North are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between the hours of:
00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 29th September 2018. Further strikes are scheduled by the union over the coming weeks.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,
“The rising crime on Northern revealed in the new statistics from the British Transport Police exposes the madness of removing the guard from the train.
“No staff on many routes and lines, no staff on the stations and no staff on the trains travelling through 330 stations means that much of the railway will increasingly become no-go areas for vulnerable passengers and new crime hot spots.
“At the same time our isolated drivers will be on their own, exposed to anti-social and violent behaviour.
“As well as these dangers there will be also be disadvantages for disabled and older passengers who require assistance because there will be no one there to help them on and off the train or provide assistance during their journey.
“No guard on the trains, combined with the destaffing of stations, is a toxic cocktail that gives the criminals a free hand on Britain’s violent railways.”
Notes to editors
The British Transport Police’s figures can be found at BTP Annual Statistical Bulletin 2016/17: http://www.btp.police.uk/PDF/Stats%20Bulletin%202016-17%20FINAL%20Aug%2017.pdf
The list of unstaffed stations can be found under the Arriva Northern’s Disabled Peoples Protection Policy at https://be803fe5c416e39d38ae-aa21086260d3bd4e072d597fe09c2e80.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/images/policy/2017-06/ARN-Making-Rail-Accessible-June-2017.pdf