Commuting via train is vastly becoming more frequent across the UK, with over 429 million people travelling across the country on the national railways.
That said, the amount of violent crime on London’s Underground has risen by 43 percent over the last three years, meaning more security measures and protection is needed for passengers than ever.
This recent surge in crime on Britain’s rail networks means that it’s important to make sure you keep safe and aware of anything suspicious straight away.
Read our advice below on how to ensure you and your fellow passengers can stay safe and unharmed wherever you’re travelling via train.
Worryingly, last year was the fifth year in a row where there were more than 4,000 injuries on London Underground.
Lone attacks on people are common when there are either no eye witnesses or very few, so when boarding the train try and sit in a carriage which has more people.
Criminals are unlikely to try and commit theft or assault if there are CCTV cameras installed, as the recording is proof that a crime was committed. If the CCTV is being watched by the train driver and/or remotely somewhere else, staff are likely to spot anything suspicious and report it to the police quickly.
Be aware of anyone who may be walking too closely behind you as you wait for or are boarding or leaving a train. Always make sure the fastenings on your luggage or jackets are closed securely, especially if you’re carrying electronics or other high-value items that criminals could reach subtly inside of to swipe quickly.
Criminals tend to target passengers who have their phones out as they’re walking or when one is left on a table or seat as they sleep. Try to avoid using your mobile at night, especially outside on platforms. If you do have to use your phone, try to find an area that’s well-lit.
Always ensure your phone has a PIN/password that’s difficult to guess – installing a password manager will help you remember your strong passwords, which can usually be generated by your device.
You shouldn’t assume that someone has lost their bag or has walked away for a moment – a bag on its own on a train or platform may possess something which could mean life or death for you and those around you. Report it to the British Transport Police or nearest railway staff member and move away immediately. If there is no one around, call 999 and ask for the police.
Even if it was left by someone who genuinely forgot their luggage, you shouldn’t open it – wait until a police officer or member of railway staff has investigated.
While you’re waiting for a train to approach, always stand in a well-lighted area near other people. When on board, sit near others and make sure you know where the emergency alarms are. Don’t be afraid to change seats or carriages if you feel unsafe.
Advice given by the British Transport Police regarding luggage is that you should keep it close by, in view and check it regularly. Consider placing valuables such as laptops, jewellery, shoes and anything else you would consider to be of high value inside hidden zipped compartments, with less valuable items nearest the top of your bag.
If you will be sleeping on a train, make sure you have a padlock for your suitcase or bag and keep it close by or on the shelf above you.
Check where fire and security alarms are located if you should need to press one in an emergency. Make sure none of these are obstructed by luggage or people leaning on them, as it will delay emergency response time.
Even if you’re making a twenty-minute journey to your parents’, always message someone to let them know what time your train is and when it will arrive, so that someone will always know where you are if something should happen to you.
Make sure there is an emergency contact number which can be found in either a bag, or inside your wallet/purse should you need help.
If you’re unsure of your surroundings once you’ve left the train station or not sure how to get to one, make note on your phone or on paper how to get to where you need to be. Pre-booking train tickets will not only save you time waiting in a queue, it will also ensure you will get to places more easily and show you which platforms and trains to get.
Google Maps has an option to show directions of how to get from one place to another via public transport and these can be saved offline in clear steps. It’s also able to show you train times, stops and if delays should be expected.
Churchill Security is a SIA-approved private security firm who can deploy security solutions to numerous UK locations. For over 25 years we have been striving to help our customers receive top-level security services from our dedicated and highly-trained staff in all kinds of industries.
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