Body cameras for Northern staff

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johntea

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Body-worn cameras to make the Northern railway network safer

Train operator Northern are introducing over 350 body-worn cameras for staff in the North of England.

Although the cameras will not be recording all the time, they will be used to capture ongoing incidents, or to help secure evidence for British Transport Police.

Staff will be able to take photos as well as video, and will provide enhanced protection for railway staff who may come across threatening behaviour.

A trial of body cameras with British Transport Police and Cambridge University was carried out in 2017.

Following that trial, staff at 20 railway stations, plus conductors and revenue staff, can now volunteer to use the cameras.

Mark Powles, Commercial and Customer Director at Northern, said: “We have already improved CCTV at many of our stations, and on our trains, to enhance security. The use of body-worn cameras is the next step to tackle any potential anti-social or criminal behaviour.”

This seems like a positive development, just the presence of them even if not recording might deter a few idiots!
 
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Jan Mayen

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Does a passenger/customer/trespasser need to be informed that such a camera is recording them? And who would have access to the recording? Anyone know?
 

skyhigh

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And who would have access to the recording? Anyone know?
Comes under the standard CCTV policy I believe. Footage can be viewed by authorised staff who have a cause to, and passengers who feature in it are welcome to request it if they require.

But yes, bodycams are overt and there is no requirement to inform passengers they are being recorded, though in practice staff should (signs are in place on trains and passengers would be captured on fixed CCTV regardless). It's a public area, so you wouldn't be able to opt out of being filmed.
 

AM9

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Comes under the standard CCTV policy I believe. Footage can be viewed by authorised staff who have a cause to, and passengers who feature in it are welcome to request it if they require.

But yes, bodycams are overt and there is no requirement to inform passengers they are being recorded, though in practice staff should (signs are in place on trains and passengers would be captured on fixed CCTV regardless). It's a public area, so you wouldn't be able to opt out of being filmed.
So a passenger, maybe expecting an argumemnt with a TOC employee, can also start recording the event on their phone or other video device then?
 

bramling

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This seems like a positive development, just the presence of them even if not recording might deter a few idiots!

Must admit I’m in two minds over these cameras. Whilst I can see there’s clearly some level of benefit for staff, and it works two ways in that any unprofessional behaviour from a member of staff would of course be recorded, I really despise the idea that we now have a society where it’s normal for people to readily go round pointing a camera in someone else’s face during everyday interactions.

I can understand it for roles where there’s a particularly high risk of confrontation, in other words revenue, but it should still be the exception not the rule.
 

skyhigh

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So a passenger, maybe expecting an argumemnt with a TOC employee, can also start recording the event on their phone or other video device then?
Yes, they can. Even police officers have no power to stop you filming them in an area accessible to the public.

The bodycams have been trialled and show a significant reduction in staff assaults. The cameras don't constantly record, and when they're switched on will flash and bleep so you're aware you're being recorded.
 

Bletchleyite

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Yes, they can. Even police officers have no power to stop you filming them in an area accessible to the public.

The owner (or responsible person) for a privately owned piece of land to which the public has access, for example the railway, can if they wish determine that filming is a reason to withdraw your permission to be there and ask you to leave. This need not be in response to a published policy. Once they do ask you to leave, if you don't you are trespassing. This isn't a criminal matter*, but it is likely the Police would assist if you refused and they were there.

* Or is it? "Trespass on the railway" is an offence but I always understood that related to the track, not to remaining on a station or train having been asked to leave it - or does it?

Must admit I’m in two minds over these cameras. Whilst I can see there’s clearly some level of benefit for staff, and it works two ways in that any unprofessional behaviour from a member of staff would of course be recorded, I really despise the idea that we now have a society where it’s normal for people to readily go round pointing a camera in someone else’s face during everyday interactions.

I can understand it for roles where there’s a particularly high risk of confrontation, in other words revenue, but it should still be the exception not the rule.

One problem is that staff can choose when they are on, so would likely turn them off if they were about to do something "naughty". Obviously they would need to be off for e.g. using the toilet, or for taking a private phone call on their break, but that would be dealt with by providing a place to put them while doing so.
 

AlterEgo

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I’m sure it is good news for the safety of the staff, but yet more cameras recording every interaction we have every day is not a positive development.
 

InOban

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I'm surprised that this is news. ScotRail have been offering them to staff for some time.
 

RPI

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We've had them for RPI'S at GWR since 2015......
 

Stigy

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I believe SWR will be trialling them too.
When I was at SWR we were using BWV in our grade from about 2018.

They are a good deterrent but sometimes you have to remember to be extra professional yourself when activated.
 

Stigy

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So a passenger, maybe expecting an argumemnt with a TOC employee, can also start recording the event on their phone or other video device then?
They do already and there’s no law against it. Some staff seem to get funny with being filmed but really there’s nothing they can do about it. I always used to tell people filming staff that it’s fine, but don’t expect the staff member to actually look at you when you’re doing it.
 

AlterEgo

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The cameras are of the "push to activate" type. They are inactive unless the member of staff presses the button to record.
I know that. It’s still depressing.

Unless you’re invisible people can see you in public.
This isn’t an especially self-aware or astute observation, coming from an account which is completely anonymous by choice.
 

Stigy

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The owner (or responsible person) for a privately owned piece of land to which the public has access, for example the railway, can if they wish determine that filming is a reason to withdraw your permission to be there and ask you to leave. This need not be in response to a published policy. Once they do ask you to leave, if you don't you are trespassing. This isn't a criminal matter*, but it is likely the Police would assist if you refused and they were there.

* Or is it? "Trespass on the railway" is an offence but I always understood that related to the track, not to remaining on a station or train having been asked to leave it - or does it?
Trespass on a Railway contrary to the British Transport Commission Act 1949 does indeed relate to lineside trespass, which is a criminal offence, rather than trespass on property, which is a civil offence.
 
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Stigy

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One problem is that staff can choose when they are on, so would likely turn them off if they were about to do something "naughty". Obviously they would need to be off for e.g. using the toilet, or for taking a private phone call on their break, but that would be dealt with by providing a place to put them while doing so.
By default they’re off (though I imagine each TOC has their own usage policy, it’s highly unlikely they’d be on all the time, if nothing else, for data storage reasons), but activated when required if an incident occurs. Most cameras have a 30 second ore-record function which means that If it suddenly kicks off, the footage starts 30secs prior to activating the record function (albeit not audio most of the time) so you can get the immediate events leading up to say, an assault.

Does a passenger/customer/trespasser need to be informed that such a camera is recording them? And who would have access to the recording? Anyone know?
Yes to the first point, and no to the second unless it’s used as evidence in court.

Staff members won’t have access to it either (those wearing the BWV).
 
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RPI

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By default they’re off (though I imagine each TOC has their own usage policy, it’s highly unlikely they’d be on all the time, if nothing else, for data storage reasons), but activated when required if an incident occurs. Most cameras have a 30 second ore-record function which means that If it suddenly kicks off, the footage starts 30secs prior to activating the record function (albeit not audio most of the time) so you can get the immediate events leading up to say, an assault.


Yes to the first point, and no to the second unless it’s used as evidence in court.

Staff members won’t have access to it either (those wearing the BWV).
With ours we're told that we must switch them on as soon as we engage with anyone or as soon as we walk through a train doing a ticket check, this way the lead up to any incidents is recorded
 

Stigy

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With ours we're told that we must switch them on as soon as we engage with anyone or as soon as we walk through a train doing a ticket check, this way the lead up to any incidents is recorded
As I said, different policies for different TOCs I guess. I’d imagine that’s some data to download per shift though? The whole idea of pre-record is to capture the lead up to an incident, although admittedly ours was video only on pre-record which is useful, but not as much as full audio.

We used Pinnacle to supply ours, which were quite big units, so may have more features as I know some are the little name badge ones?
 

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Surreytraveller

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So a passenger, maybe expecting an argumemnt with a TOC employee, can also start recording the event on their phone or other video device then?
There is nothing in law to prevent such a person doing that

Does a passenger/customer/trespasser need to be informed that such a camera is recording them? And who would have access to the recording? Anyone know?
Yes, Data Protection Law requires people to be informed, what the purpose of the recording is for, and who the Data Controller is
 
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PupCuff

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I used to use body worn video back when I worked out on the trains, I found them a very positive development. It was in its infancy then, and the tech has come on a long way, particularly in terms of things like image quality and battery life. The footage and audio from them is generally really good, and they're really beneficial in terms of encouraging people to moderate their behaviour (on both sides of the issue). It's also very useful for the Transport Police to have video footage of a person who has assaulted a staff member as this helps secure a prosecution - of course, at most train operators they're used at the staff member's discretion, and they're no use if they're sat there in the avantix lobby rather than being taken out and worn.
 

RPI

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As I said, different policies for different TOCs I guess. I’d imagine that’s some data to download per shift though? The whole idea of pre-record is to capture the lead up to an incident, although admittedly ours was video only on pre-record which is useful, but not as much as full audio.

We used Pinnacle to supply ours, which were quite big units, so may have more features as I know some are the little name badge ones?
Ours are the lanyard type ones, they just get popped onto a dock when we get back to the office and its all uploaded to a cloud
 

MissPWay

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This isn’t an especially self-aware or astute observation, coming from an account which is completely anonymous by choice.


Maybe it’s my..... AlterEgo......

But in all seriousness, people can see me when I go outside and I accept that.

Broadcasting my name address and profession to random trainspotters on a forum is a different matter.
 
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the sniper

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The owner (or responsible person) for a privately owned piece of land to which the public has access, for example the railway, can if they wish determine that filming is a reason to withdraw your permission to be there and ask you to leave. This need not be in response to a published policy. Once they do ask you to leave, if you don't you are trespassing. This isn't a criminal matter*, but it is likely the Police would assist if you refused and they were there.

* Or is it? "Trespass on the railway" is an offence but I always understood that related to the track, not to remaining on a station or train having been asked to leave it - or does it?

On the railway it is indeed a criminal matter, if the staff/Police know the law.

Trespass on a Railway contrary to the British Transport Commission Act 1949 does indeed relate to lineside trespass, which is a criminal offence, rather than trespass on property, which is a civil offence.

There are number of railway trespass offences on the books. In Bletchleyite's example, you'd be looking at using Railway Regulation Act 1840 s16.

 

43096

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This seems like a positive development, just the presence of them even if not recording might deter a few idiots!
What's the odds that the footage mysteriously goes missing or the device "wasn't activated" in those cases where the passenger is in the right?
 
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