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Guards On Track

by msecadm4921

Security issues for train operating companies (TOCs) include vandalism, theft, ticketless travel and staff assaults.

As anti-social behaviour increases, passenger and staff perceptions and feelings of personal security decline. Hence, as featured in the January issue of Professional Security, investment by TOC Northern Rail in security staff, including contract security officers. The contractor is Carlisle Security, also engaged by Merseyrail Electrics, Docklands Light Railway and Manchester Metrolink to provide a range of security services and over 100 officers nationwide to deal with anti social behaviour and customer and staff security.

Working with the TOCs and the British Transport Police (BTP) a new breed of security personnel is being created and deployed, with dramatic effects, according to the guarding contractor. The Merseyrail contract was featured in the April 2006 issue of Professional Security. What Carlisle call the Merseyrail model saw the birth of a ‘rail response officer’ in earnest, with officers receiving SIA licence compliant training, first aid, conflict management from Carlisle, track awareness, fire safety and revenue protection awareness from Merseyrail and railway byelaws training and PACE guidance from BTP.

Carlisle Operations Director Martin Woollam says: "The Merseyside model demonstrates the powerful product than can be created when all stakeholders actively contribute to the end product. Carlisle has benefited from both a very progressive attitude to security from Serco Nedrail’s Mike Carroll, Security Manager from Merseyrail supported by Leslie Cusick, the Safety Director. Mike’s input has been immense with his constant support, vision and can do attitude prevailing at all times. Sincerest praise needs also to go to BTP North West Area Commander Martyn Ripley OBE who has actively and proactively assisted in the creation of the response officer. His support, guidance and facilitation of quality training and general support from the British Transport Police has demonstrated how by embracing the wider economy of policing positive and impressive results can and will follow.”

Since the rail response officers came in, Merseyrail reports it has reduced staff assaults year on year by 25pc. Vandalism has reduced and passenger perceptions have also increased as they feel safer going about their everyday (or night) duties. Other contract wins within the Serco Nedrail Group have followed.

Following a Serco Nedrail fact finding mission to New York and working with Bob Gough, Operational Security Manager for Docklands Light Railway, Carlisle have developed a two-day Skills for Security Accredited counter-terrorism course which has the rail based HOT Principles at its core but develops the course in line with the NYPD ‘Eyes and Ears’ programme delivered to New York’s suburban network rail staff. This is now delivered as standard to their front line Travel Safe Officers who operate across that high profile network. Martin adds: "Bob’s influence and insistence on the counter terrorism element to the role of the Travel Safe Officer lead to the development and delivery of the next phase and level of rail security training."

When Serco Nedrail franchise Northern Rail Security and Emergency Manager Martyn Guiver decided they needed a mobile security force to patrol key route crime areas, the sheer size of the network made communications a real issue. No standard issue radio made operational headway across the spread of their area. Carlisle sought to be approved to join the Ofcom-regulated O2 operated Airwave network. Now achived, roll out is imminent.

More recent wins with Manchester Metrolink has re-enforced the customer service training and PACE based issues of officers with Serco Nedrail Revenue Protection Manager Mike Mabey again proving to be a very proactive partner to deliver tangible security differences to front-line staff, Carlisle report. Martin Woollam sums up: “The progress that has been made by all stakeholders over the last 12 months has been both exciting and very rewarding. The Merseyrail statistics prove what can happen when partnership leaves the confines of a sales document and becomes a reality. Carlisle is proud to have developed such fruitful partnerships with Merseyrail, Docklands Light Railway, Northern Rail, Manchester Metrolink and of course the British Transport Police."

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