Reason for Increase of Assaults on LU Employees

MQT on 2015-02-23
Session date: 
February 23, 2015
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What information and analysis do you have to explain the increase on LU employee's assaults?

What other contributing factors may have been involved?


Answer for Reason for Increase of Assaults on LU Employees

Answer for Reason for Increase of Assaults on LU Employees

Answered By: 
The Mayor

TfL has been monitoring workplace violence trends closely and, together with the British Transport Police, it has conducted detailed analysis to understand what is driving the increase.

Over the past five years customer numbers have grown markedly and thus incidents overall are on a rising trend.

Over 50 per cent of all reported incidents of violence to staff have a dispute over a ticket (or no ticket) as the underlying cause. Other motivators to incidents include general anti-social behaviour, often connected with major sporting events, demonstrations and issues such as service delays.

Under-reporting of incidents is a well-known phenomenon across all organisations whose front line staff interface with the general public. The harmful outcomes from verbal abuse and threats are no less serious than the effects of physical assault yet, it is those incidents which historically have been under reported. In consequence, the work that TfL has done to encourage staff to report any incident of assault, including verbal, means that the reported number of incidents has risen.

Another major determinant is high police visibility which acts as a suppressor. During the period of the London Olympics and Paralympics, sustained high uniformed police visibility lowered the number of incidents. For this reason the figure for 2012/13 is lower than would be expected from the overall trend.

TfL fully acknowledges both the risks to its employees from workplace violence and its obligation to minimise these risks. There are many initiatives in place to help reduce incidents of workplace violence. This includes the joint TfL/British Transport Police Workplace Violence Unit, which identifies possible causes or trends, supports the investigation and prosecution of assaults, threatening behaviour and unacceptable behaviour on all operational staff, and improves the standards of after-care support through the criminal justice system.

TfL provides appropriate learning in customer management and conflict avoidance to all operational staff on induction into the organisation. TfL then supplements this through refresher workshops and one-to-one training at appropriate intervals.

A drive to crack down on threats and verbal abuse against staff on TfL's services with a network-wide publicity campaign is also currently active.

Crime on the Underground is now at its lowest ever level, having decreased by over 14 per cent in the last year alone. There are around 700 uniformed police personnel on the Tube and DLR networks from British Transport Police, part of the 2,500 strong group of officers who work across the TfL transport network keeping customers safe. The Underground network is also covered by our extensive network of 12,000 CCTV cameras. When we introduce the Night Tube, all stations will remain staffed and controlled at all times that services are running and hundreds of staff will be backed by increased Police presence.