Calls to cut transport worker abuse

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

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With the Christmas party season getting in full swing, party goers and passengers are being asked to give transport staff the gift of goodwill.

Traditionally, this time of year sees many of us enjoy the seasonal festivities while others are working hard to get us home safely. Unfortunately, the very people there to help are sometimes the target of unwarranted and unacceptable abuse.

In the last two years alone, almost 200 offences against staff have been recorded, with around three quarters of these involving some form of physical assault.

While this type of crime is being targeted and is on the decline, the Scottish Government, transport bosses and unions are calling on passengers across all modes of transport to help stamp out this unacceptable behaviour.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands said: “This important campaign highlights the unacceptable nature of violence against transport workers. Every worker has the absolute right to carry out their duties without the fear of verbal or physical assault.

“Quite rightly, this campaign has the backing of Scotland’s transport providers and the trade unions. My plea is to ask the public to give their support too, by not only refraining from this type of wholly unnecessary behaviour, but also by actively helping to stamp it out where it does occur.”

British Transport Police (BTP) Chief Superintendent John McBride said: “Violence against staff, be that physical or verbal, is never acceptable and we are committed to driving this offence down across Scotland.

“In the past year, we have seen a drop in the number of assaults but are by no means complacent and will continue working tirelessly to make the transport network a safe place to travel and work.

“If anyone needs to contact British Transport Police, the best way is via our text 61016 service and we will respond immediately.”

David Lister, ScotRail Sustainability & Safety Assurance Director, said: “Every single day ScotRail Alliance staff work hard to deliver for Scotland’s Railway. Unfortunately, a small minority experience insults, threats, and even physical violence.

“Whilst the majority of our customers will be enjoying some well-earned time off with friends and family, our teams will still be hard at work to help our customers get to and from the shops or nights out.

“We are asking our customers to have a good time, but be mindful of others and not get carried away this Christmas. Our staff are here to help, so please treat them as you would like to be treated, and help keep this a festive time for all.”

Kevin Lindsay, Scottish Organiser ASLEF, added: “We want everyone to have enjoyable festive period but remind passengers to respect all Transport Workers as they work hard to get everyone home safely.”

CalMac’s general manager for operations, Ross Moran, said: “Thankfully instances of physical and verbal abuse towards staff on our vessels or in ports are rare. But they do happen and can be not only frightening and very intimidating for the staff member in question, but also our customers. There is never an excuse and we are pleased to support this campaign to raise awareness.”