Hundreds of Britain’s railway stations are setting the standard in reducing crime, safeguarding vulnerable people and ensuring safer journeys for passengers, rail minister Andrew Jones has announced. On a visit to East Croydon Station, recently accredited as a Secure Station by the British Transport Police (BTP), Jones met with Southern station staff who are helping to make every passenger’s journey safer.
Originally launched in 1998, the Secure Stations Scheme provides station operators with the chance to demonstrate how they’re working with partners to make journeys as safe as possible. The national scheme covers all rail networks policed by the BTP. A range of factors are assessed before a station can be granted accreditation, including visibility, lighting, CCTV, safeguarding of vulnerable people and crime data at the station in question.
More than 673 stations across Britain are now accredited by the BTP, with 172 stations either newly-accredited or re-accredited since the launch of the refreshed Secure Stations Scheme in 2017.
Jones also met with BTP officers and charities including Samaritans and the Railway Children, who all engage with passengers to ensure they feel supported and safe on Britain’s railways.
Commitment to tackle crime
“The Secure Stations Scheme forms part of the exceptional work BTP, station staff and charities do every single day to give passengers the safe journeys they deserve,” asserted Jones. “More than 170 stations are now newly or re-accredited under the refreshed scheme, demonstrating an outstanding commitment to tackling crime and safeguarding passengers. It’s particularly poignant and important to commend the incredible work being done on suicide prevention, ensuring that we protect vulnerable people on our railways.”
BTP chief constable Paul Crowther responded: “Tackling crime and safeguarding the most vulnerable on the railway network is one of our key priorities and we’re pleased to see that more than 170 stations have now been accredited under the refreshed Secure Stations Scheme, helping passengers and staff feel safer across the rail network. The chance of becoming a victim of crime while travelling or working on the network remains comparatively low. On average, there are only 19 recorded crimes for every million passenger journeys. The Secure Stations Scheme is an important initiative, acting as a national benchmark that the police service, the rail industry and Government can use to work towards making stations an even safer and low crime environment.”
Patrick Verwer, CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway which operates Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services through East Croydon Station, observed: “Achieving this accolade once again is an important achievement. The Secure Stations Scheme forms an important part of the excellent work our members of staff transact with our industry partners to keep passengers safe and secure.”
Importance of partnerships
Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland commented: “Samaritans has been working with the railway industry since 2010 to prevent suicide. Samaritans has now trained more than 17,000 railway staff to spot vulnerable people on the network and intervene to help them. We see partnerships as playing a vital role in achieving our vision of reducing suicide. They allow us to reach vulnerable groups that may not otherwise contact Samaritans. We join up with organisations from a variety of sectors, including health, education/young people, transport, construction and the services. We look forward to continuing to do this and to saving more lives in the future.”
Pete Kent, programme director at Railway Children, explained: “Last year, BTP generated more than 8,000 referral reports in connection with vulnerable children they encountered at railway stations. Our partnership with them has enabled us to offer follow-up support to 350 of these children as well as intensive work with 40 of the most vulnerable ones. With ongoing support from the rail industry, we will make stations safer places for many more children. We’re delighted that the Secure Stations Scheme includes safeguarding as a key indicator and we congratulate East Croydon Station staff on their achievement in being given this award, and in making their contribution to ensure all children are safe on our railway.”