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Northern Trains Ltd - provide a vital role in connecting tens of thousands of commuters to work, education, leisure and more every day. To protect their staff, they are trialling WCCTV body worn cameras across their network.

The Challenge

Northern trains frontline staff are at risk daily of both verbal and physical assault and often must manage difficult members of the public, anti-social behaviour and intoxicated people alone.  

Protecting their staff is a big concern for Northern Trains Ltd but the challenge they are facing is they have more than 1,500 conductors across 21 locations between Buxton/Sheffield and Carlisle that have no access to body worn camera equipment.

This is due to having no suitable Wi-Fi, network access or power at the 21 locations which is a real problem. Also, some of the locations have limited storage space and are shared with other operator’s staff, this leads to security and GDPR concerns around the equipment.  

These challenges coupled with the expired IT infrastructure, no network capacity to add additional projects onto any of the existing servers and the complex geography of the business meant that in order to support the needs of the business, Northern had to find a solution which wasn’t available to them of the shelf.

WCCTV Northern Rail Body Worn Cameras

The Solution

A previous body camera trial in the rail industry, looking at assault reduction on frontline staff, found staff wearing body worn cameras were 47% less likely to be assaulted both verbally and physically. Also, if a forward-facing screen was present the results were greater as this tended to deescalate an incident as both parties were aware of the presence of the camera and what was being recorded.

In January 2020 Northern met with WCCTV to find a solution to their complex needs. Northern had funding in place to procure a solution for their frontline teams to start a trial to see if the same levels of reduction could be achieved onboard their train services.

WCCTV worked closely with Northern to reengineer the smart hub technology to incorporate a wireless data connection negating access and connection issues that were faced at the 21 depots.

240 body worn cameras were procured to be split across the 4 business regions and assignment was to be based on the size of the depot vs the number of incidents occurring. To deal with any spikes in antisocial behaviour 6 contingency units were available to be transferred to the affected depots.

Given the complex nature of the business and the industry, Northern had to consult with Trade Union representatives, Employee Councils as well as discussions at a national level through Rail Delivery Group steering groups. This also meant that the wearing of body worn cameras as part of the trial would be voluntary.

WCCTV Body Worn Cameras

The Result

Northern had 680 volunteers sign up to the trial and all 21 depots went live with the equipment.

Since 1st April 2021 the WCCTV body worn cameras have recorded 77 offences and the evidential footage was shared with the British Transport Police and/or Debt Recovery Prosecution Department.

Northern asked staff involved in the trial to date to provide feedback on the use of body worn cameras and 69% provided feedback supporting the scheme. They also provided anecdotal evidence that the body worn cameras presence had in fact deterred incidents from occurring, this included customer on customer conflict, drunken behaviour, fare evasion and customer service escalation.

The WCCTV body worn camera trial is scheduled to end at the beginning of March 2022 upon which a business review will take place to discuss extending the trial or to fully deploy WCCTV body worn cameras. With the success of the trial so far Northern are also discussing the availability of solutions to support their revenue inspection teams and station graded staff.

The Quote

“WCCTV have been really helpful with our Conductor Body worn Project especially with the challenges that have risen through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led us to purchase more cameras from them to aid our staff on our Gatelines and Station staff.”

Northern Trains Ltd

Ready to see if body cameras can support your business? 

Contact WCCTV to Arrange a Free Body Camera Trial