Assault and abuse of London bus drivers

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-02-26
Session date: 
February 26, 2014
Reference: 
2014/1194
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

I commend my colleague Roger Evans AM in successfully highlighting the high level of assaults and verbal abuse against London's bus drivers. What do you propose to do about this situation and how does this fit in with your claims that bus crime is decreasing?

Answer

Answer for Assault and abuse of London bus drivers

Answer for Assault and abuse of London bus drivers

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Abuse of London's bus drivers is unacceptable and TfL does not tolerate threatening behaviour towards its staff. Drivers should be allowed to do their jobs without fear for their safety. TfL works closely with bus operators, to support their drivers, and the police to push for the strongest penalty for anyone who abuses a member of staff.  

TfL's figures show that the number of assaults against drivers (which includes both physical assault and verbal abuse) has declined for the fourth consecutive quarter.

To put that into context, 381 incidents (161 physical, 220 verbal) were reported in quarter 3 of 2013/14. This is measured against more than six million daily passenger journeys, being delivered by approximately 24,500 drivers.

However, while the total figures are low, any incident is one too many.

There are many initiatives in place to help reduce staff assaults, including the joint TfL/Metropolitan Police Workplace Violence Unit, that supports the investigation and prosecution of assaults on all operational bus staff, improves the standards of support for victims and actively encourages reporting. The Unit has achieved a conviction rate of around 90 per cent in the cases it has dealt with.

In addition, all vehicles are fitted with assault screens, CCTV, two-way radio systems that connects drivers to a joint TfL/MPS control room, and buses and stops are fitted with customer information screens and announcements that help to communicate live running information to passengers.

All bus drivers receive training in customer focus skills and conflict avoidance. TfL also runs a workplace violence communications campaign across the network aimed at reducing assaults against staff.