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Dispatcher scanning something on the platform with a phone?

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py_megapixel

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I spotted something at a station that I hadn't seen before the other day. It looked like a fairly standard weatherproof electrical junction box, similar to this, mounted about 2 metres up on the wall of a building between the two sides of the island platform. A dispatcher came onto the platform and held their smartphone next to this box for a few seconds, took a glance at whatever appeared on the phone screen, and then proceeded to dispatch the train from the adjacent platform as normal. Any idea what this is?
 
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TFN

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It could be the dispatcher doing the security checks and the walls have some NFC stickers on it to confirm that the area has been cleared?
 

Horizon22

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Security checks through a tagging system?
 

Egg Centric

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For clarity, is that basically just evidence the dispatcher was 'there' and did something as opposed to just saying they did, or is scanning the box doing something meaningful?
 

zwk500

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For clarity, is that basically just evidence the dispatcher was 'there' and did something as opposed to just saying they did, or is scanning the box doing something meaningful?
Without knowing which station this was at and a detailed knowledge of that station's security/safety checks (which anybody who does know would not be disclosing on a public forum) it could be either or something different entirely.
 

Skie

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I've seen something similar in a shopping centre. Security guard walks to a cupboard, opens it and scans a tag with his phone, then wanders off. It's just ticking a box to prove he was doing a route/checking an area every x hours. Utterly useless because it just incentivises perverse behaviours: Instead of encouraging them to actually look around and observe, they just rush between scan points and focus on that as their job.

Alternatively, isn't that how the remote PA mics are paired with a group of platform speakers? I know the tube ones just have a channel selector, but I swear I've seen something about the newer radio mics that you can tap on a NFC tag to tell it to announce to the platform you're on and not the one you just left.
 

lincolnshire

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Security checks through a tagging system?
In other words to prove he has been to that location, in the old days the watch man carried a clock affair and had to insert a key in it at that location to prove he had been there.
 

Horizon22

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In other words to prove he has been to that location, in the old days the watch man carried a clock affair and had to insert a key in it at that location to prove he had been there.

Essentially yes - it proves the security staff / dispatcher are "doing their rounds" and that the mandated security checks are being completed. Of course the staff member could simply scan and do no actual checking, but in principle its better than just signing in a book or radioing in that the check has been done.
 

Meerkat

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Utterly useless because it just incentivises perverse behaviours: Instead of encouraging them to actually look around and observe, they just rush between scan points and focus on that as their job
Not as entirely useless as someone not even bothering to go to that area as their boss won’t know.
And there is an audit of who checked and what time. Anything/anyone appears/disappears/happens and the management know who to ask about it, and have a better idea of when it happened.
And it’s good for the decent staff too - as there is proof they did the rounds.
 

43066

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Utterly useless because it just incentivises perverse behaviours: Instead of encouraging them to actually look around and observe, they just rush between scan points and focus on that as their job.

That is often got around by also having a policy of occasionally planting an object, usually a soft toy, or similar, to be “found” by the staff doing the checks. If they scan but don’t find it, questions will be asked!
 

TheManWho

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It could be the dispatcher doing the security checks and the walls have some NFC stickers on it to confirm that the area has been cleared?
Probably part of the hourly DFT Security checks carried out by station staff- scanning the NFC stickers identifies the area has been visited as part of a security check. Not sure about NR, but ours are carried out hourly
 

Horizon22

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Probably part of the hourly DFT Security checks carried out by station staff- scanning the NFC stickers identifies the area has been visited as part of a security check. Not sure about NR, but ours are carried out hourly

Totally depends on the station security grade as to the regularity of checks - and larger stations may be split into zones. I think all NR stations are suitably large & busy as to require hourly checks.
 
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