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Virgin Trains to roll out more body worn cameras

Press release   •   Oct 07, 2019 08:30 BST

  • 250 more cameras to be rolled out across the network
  • Follows the successful implementation of the scheme in 2018
  • The extra cameras will be used on by station staff and on-board teams

Virgin Trains are rolling out more body worn cameras for station staff and on-board teams to use after successfully introducing the scheme last year.

After becoming the first UK train operator to provide the cameras to cover all its frontline teams, the train operator is equipping a further 250 of its people with cameras bringing the total to over 500.

These will primarily be used by staff working across the network - including station staff and on-board teams.

Following a pilot scheme, Virgin Trains initially introduced 275 cameras in September last year.

The pilot between February 2018 and September 2018, saw a reduction in assaults on Virgin Trains staff.

Further analysis has seen physical assaults on Virgin Trains’ employees drop by 30 percent in the period between April and September 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

As a result of the success of the soft launch, body worn cameras were adopted across the network for revenue protection officers at ticket barriers and train managers on board.

In another first for the rail industry, Virgin Trains granted the British Transport Police direct access to footage from the cameras to carry out investigations where needed, thanks to a state-of-the-art cloud-based system. This allows footage to be viewed when the cameras are docked – speeding up investigations and possible prosecutions.

Dave Whitehouse, Safety Director at Virgin Trains, said: “The safety of our staff and customers is paramount, and body worn cameras play an important role in helping us to keep our network safe.

“The feedback is that our staff feel more confident and reassured wearing the equipment while working on the network. It’s only natural that more of our people should have access to using it.

“Body Worn Cameras act as a deterrent, but if one of our people is subjected to an assault or there is another incident involving our customers, the technology is also there to quickly provide evidence to the British Transport Police.”

Sergeant Lakhveer Singh, of British Transport Police, said: “Virgin Trains announcement of more body worn cameras for their staff has the full support of British Transport Police. 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.”

Colin Stanford, Managing Director at Pinnacle, which provided the the cameras, said: “This initiative has improved safety and reduced abuse towards staff immeasurably. As a result, other train operating companies throughout the UK and Europe have followed suit.”

About Virgin Trains

Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the West Coast inter-city route under the Virgin Trains brand, revolutionising travel on one of the UK’s key rail arteries.

The network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and London.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains ahead of other long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.

Virgin Trains has a proud record of challenging the status quo - from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme, introducing the industry-leading onboard entertainment streaming service, BEAM, and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.

Virgin Trains operated the East Coast route between March 1, 2015 and June 24, 2018. In that time, we invested £75m to create a more personalised travel experience, including over £40m in the existing fleet. Customers have benefitted from 48 additional services between Edinburgh and London every week, and an extra 22 Saturday services between Leeds and London – a total of 1.74 million additional seats since May 2015.

Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country whilst enabling further investment and improvement, and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail. For more information go to Britain Runs on Rail.

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