New cameras should help protect Greater Anglia rail conductors
PUBLISHED: 16:30 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:58 24 September 2019
Rail staff working on Greater Anglia trains are being issued with badge cameras in a bid to deter assaults and provide evidence for the police.
Every conductor now has access to one of the hi-tech badges - which contain a small built-in video camera - to help them defuse difficult situations.
The badge cam works by constantly recording, but not actively storing footage until a flap is flicked. Once the camera has been activated, it will keep filming until it is stopped.
Green and red lights will also show so it is clear that a recording is being made.
Nathan Long, one of Greater Anglia's senior conductors, who was recently assaulted by a passenger who threw a drink at him, says he feels reassured using the badge cam and so do customers.
He said: "On some of the later London services that can be busy with revellers, people see it and it makes them feel safer.
"Most people, if they're angry or they've had too much to drink, they instantly stop as soon as they see the camera, they calm down. I was assaulted the other day and I had it then, the evidence goes to the police."
On average, eight Greater Anglia on board staff suffer assaults every month.
Greater Anglia's crime and intelligence manager Mark Burgess Lawrence said: "We want to protect our staff at all times, and the badge cams will help to stop disagreements escalating to the point where someone becomes abusive.
"Assaults on other customers are thankfully extremely rare, so this is about protecting our staff - but everyone benefits as its unsettling for everyone when an altercation occurs."
Most incidents arise from a minor issue such as staff challenging an individual with an incorrect ticket. Alcohol is often a factor.
Sergeant Paul Thompson, of the British Transport Police, said: "Body-worn cameras are an effective tool used internationally by police forces to gather evidence of crimes and provide honest accounts of dealings between the police and public.
"The rolling out of these devices to train operators is very welcome; it ensures their employees are given the safety afforded by personal cameras and when the worst happens and a staff member is assaulted there is strong evidence ready to be used."