Merseyrail security guards broke train passenger's leg twice - Liverpool Echo article 30/04/2021

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8J

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Above is a link to an article in the Liverpool Echo outlining a case of the extremely heavy handed approach of some bylaw enforcement officers employed by Carlisle Support Services on Merseyrail trains and stations.

For those that can't access the link, below is the extracted text from the article:
"Two security guards injured a man so badly as they removed him from Liverpool Central Station that they broke his leg and left him with life-changing injuries.

John Smitton, from Anfield, and John Moncrieff, from Wigan, used "unnecessary force" to eject the passenger from the city centre station.

The victim, who Merseyrail had decided was too drunk to travel, was being removed from the station on September 6, 2018.

But Smitton and Moncrieff - employees of Carlisle Security Services - got involved, pushing the man face-first into the wall, with his face hitting the corner of the wall.

The man turned around to face the pair who then pinned him to the ground with such force that the victim repeatedly cried out in pain and begged for them to let go.

The victim suffered two breaks to his leg and concussion from the assault.

He was immediately rushed to hospital by ambulance.

He has since had seven separate operations on his leg and doctors believe the injury could be life-altering.

Smitton, 39, of Elderdale Road, Anfield and Moncrieff, 49, of Silverdale Road, Orrell, Wigan were sentenced and received suspended sentences, meaning they walked free.

They pleaded guilty to affray, while a third security officer was found not guilty at a trial in August last year.

At Liverpool Crown Court each man received a 12 month sentence, suspended for 18 months, and both were ordered to complete 240 hours unpaid work.

Both are also subject to a four month electronic curfew.

British Transport Police detective constable Scott Mccabe said: “This was a clear instance of security officers using unnecessary force to remove someone from the railway.

“The victim continues to struggle with health issues caused by the assault and we are pleased that the matter has now been concluded.”

Carlisle Security Services declined to comment."

This episode highlights yet another case of the aggressive approach employed by CSS bylaw enforcement staff on Merseyrail. Do they have a vetting process to ensure they aren't taking on unsuitable, potentially unstable people in these roles?

I think now is a time for Merseyrail to review their practices and relationship with Carlisle Support Services?

Merseyrail have recently extended the duties of Carlisle Support Services Bylaw Enforcement officers to cover revenue protection duties onboard too including issuing penalty fare notices. I dread to think how this will play out now.
 
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Bletchleyite

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It does seem that the SIA scheme is not effective enough, and there really does need to be a clampdown on this kind of thing. The industry needs professionalising - it's professional enough in mainland Europe, so that's clearly not hard.

Clearly it needs big strong blokes (or women), but it needs military style professionalism, not thugs who do it because they'd never get any other job as is far too common.
 

Wolfie

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Above is a link to an article in the Liverpool Echo outlining a case of the extremely heavy handed approach of some bylaw enforcement officers employed by Carlisle Support Services on Merseyrail trains and stations.

For those that can't access the link, below is the extracted text from the article:

"Two security guards injured a man so badly as they removed him from Liverpool Central Station that they broke his leg and left him with life-changing injuries.

John Smitton, from Anfield, and John Moncrieff, from Wigan, used "unnecessary force" to eject the passenger from the city centre station.

The victim, who Merseyrail had decided was too drunk to travel, was being removed from the station on September 6, 2018.

But Smitton and Moncrieff - employees of Carlisle Security Services - got involved, pushing the man face-first into the wall, with his face hitting the corner of the wall.

The man turned around to face the pair who then pinned him to the ground with such force that the victim repeatedly cried out in pain and begged for them to let go.

The victim suffered two breaks to his leg and concussion from the assault.

He was immediately rushed to hospital by ambulance.

He has since had seven separate operations on his leg and doctors believe the injury could be life-altering.

Smitton, 39, of Elderdale Road, Anfield and Moncrieff, 49, of Silverdale Road, Orrell, Wigan were sentenced and received suspended sentences, meaning they walked free.

They pleaded guilty to affray, while a third security officer was found not guilty at a trial in August last year.

At Liverpool Crown Court each man received a 12 month sentence, suspended for 18 months, and both were ordered to complete 240 hours unpaid work.

Both are also subject to a four month electronic curfew.

British Transport Police detective constable Scott Mccabe said: “This was a clear instance of security officers using unnecessary force to remove someone from the railway.

“The victim continues to struggle with health issues caused by the assault and we are pleased that the matter has now been concluded.”

Carlisle Security Services declined to comment."

This episode highlights yet another case of the aggressive approach employed by CSS bylaw enforcement staff on Merseyrail. Do they have a vetting process to ensure they aren't taking on unsuitable, potentially unstable people in these roles?

I think now is a time for Merseyrail to review their practices and relationship with Carlisle Support Services?

Merseyrail have recently extended the duties of Carlisle Support Services Bylaw Enforcement officers to cover revenue protection duties onboard too including issuing penalty fare notices. I dread to think how this will play out now.


Mods - I'm struggling to insert quotations of the relevant text from the article - please can this be sorted.
I assume that a civil action against Merseyrail, Carlisle and these two convicted rentathugs will follow. It will cost them dearly and l personally hope that they end up personally bankrupted.
 

Bletchleyite

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I assume that a civil action against Merseyrail, Carlisle and these two convicted rentathugs will follow. It will cost them dearly and l personally hope that they end up personally bankrupted.

I'd rather see mandatory non-suspended prison sentences for people who, by virtue of their training, should know how to restrain and evict without causing injury, and thus can be expected not to lose their temper, unlike an untrained member of the public in a similar position.

As for Penalty Fares, what I'd do is PF train the guards (as proper railway staff), but have them only do PFs when there are two security staff on board to provide backup in case of an adverse reaction to one being issued. Contract security guards should not be doing revenue in any form, they should be there simply to provide backup if a member of staff is assaulted or threatened with it.
 

Wolfie

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I'd rather see mandatory non-suspended prison sentences for people who, by virtue of their training, should know how to restrain and evict without causing injury, and thus can be expected not to lose their temper, unlike an untrained member of the public in a similar position.

As for Penalty Fares, what I'd do is PF train the guards (as proper railway staff), but have them only do PFs when there are two security staff on board to provide backup in case of an adverse reaction to one being issued. Contract security guards should not be doing revenue in any form, they should be there simply to provide backup if a member of staff is assaulted or threatened with it.
I think that is proportional and balanced.
 

LowLevel

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Nothing makes my heart sink like private security on the railway. There should be no place for it. It should be properly trained and equipped railway employees, or BTP constables. I am a train guard armed with no more than my wits and when private security get involved with almost anything I invariably seem to end up picking up the pieces, including on at least one occasion a few years ago now physically dragging the "security officer" off my train when they'd lost control of a conflict situation.

It never ceases to amaze me that you can go to somewhere like Belgium and see smart, professional looking security officers on the railway and yet come to the UK and it's farmed out to contractors, as often as not wielding nothing but an SIA badge and a hi vis with Security on it.
 

Bletchleyite

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It never ceases to amaze me that you can go to somewhere like Belgium and see smart, professional looking security officers on the railway and yet come to the UK and it's farmed out to contractors, as often as not wielding nothing but an SIA badge and a hi vis with Security on it.

In my experience private security guards in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland etc are just as professional as railway employees are. There has long been a problem with security guarding as an industry in the UK. At least SIA has removed most of the organised crime from it, but it is still nowhere near good enough.
 

73001

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A small thing that annoys me as well is the fact that "Carlisle Security Services declined to comment"... they are being paid from the public purse and as such the public have a right to know what they think about this and what they're going to do to fix it.
 

8J

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A small thing that annoys me as well is the fact that "Carlisle Security Services declined to comment"... they are being paid from the public purse and as such the public have a right to know what they think about this and what they're going to do to fix it.

That's not a "small thing" as you put it - it is a completely valid point. I have witnessed the approach of some of these security staff. It does not portray Merseyrail in a positive light.

Yes there are many less than desireables that travel on Merseyrail but you never see these thugs when you need them it must be said.

If I had a choice of using a Merseyrail train or a bus, at present I'd choose the latter. I don't like the idea of being intimidated or witnessing behaviour like this.
 

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This is deeply concerning, but sadly not surprising.

The rail industry lacks sufficient safeguards against incidents of this nature, especially when private contractors are involved.
 

Wolfie

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This is deeply concerning, but sadly not surprising.

The rail industry lacks sufficient safeguards against incidents of this nature, especially when private contractors are involved.
Time that it cost the rail organisations employing these idiots serious money. They should have the ass sued off them, not to mention getting national politicians involved, every single time that there is an incident. If it costs them enough time and money they will either improve their selection of contractors or get rid.
 

Carlisle

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Nothing makes my heart sink like private security on the railway. There should be no place for it. It should be properly trained and equipped railway employees, or BTP constables.
As an aside, I don’t even recall BR certainly in its final 20 years of existence employing virtually any specific security staff roles directly .
 
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LowLevel

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As an aside, I don’t even recall BR certainly in its final 20 years of existence employing virtually any security staff roles directly .

Did BR have many if any on the books whether contractor or directly employed? I never seem to notice them in old footage etc. I suppose there were far more station staff etc around in those days for things like parcels handling tasks.

Purely out of interest I had a look at the Belgian equivalent to MerseyRail's "officers" which is SecuRail - they're actually directly employed agents of the state with proper training who work alongside the police (Spoorweg Politie). I imagine that they're also quite expensive, however.

The continental approach to rail security is interesting and variable. I went on a Dutch private operator train a few years ago - it had a guard on board as Dutch trains do but the driver operated the doors unlike on NS (I think the train was a Flirt) and they were dressed much like a "proper" security officer and were extremely proactive about maintaining a pleasant onboard environment.
 

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Sir Robert Mark the former Met Police Commissioner, who started out as a PC. After he retired told a story about as a Constable in Manchester in the 1940's arresting drunks at closing down. One of them would not go into the Police van and a Police Officer hit the drunk's leg with his truncheon, breaking it. Now the Police Offiicer would be prosecuted and fired. Then the drunk with his leg in plaster and the Police Officer were at the Magistrates Court the next day having a laugh about it.
 

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Nothing makes my heart sink like private security on the railway. There should be no place for it. It should be properly trained and equipped railway employees, or BTP constables. I am a train guard armed with no more than my wits and when private security get involved with almost anything I invariably seem to end up picking up the pieces, including on at least one occasion a few years ago now physically dragging the "security officer" off my train when they'd lost control of a conflict situation.

It never ceases to amaze me that you can go to somewhere like Belgium and see smart, professional looking security officers on the railway and yet come to the UK and it's farmed out to contractors, as often as not wielding nothing but an SIA badge and a hi vis with Security on it.

100% agree. Most private security on the railway is an utter scourge, and it seems to be something which has exploded in scale over the last few years.

To be fair there are some good ones, but they seem to be the exception. We really don't need our stations teaming with imitation cops dressed up in ever more over-the-top gear.
 

LOL The Irony

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employees of Carlisle Security Services
Well there's your problem. This is what happens when you use the services of a company that are named after and act like A-Team villains.
 

Carlisle

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Did BR have many if any on the books whether contractor or directly employed? I never seem to notice them in old footage etc. I suppose there were far more station staff etc around in those days for things like parcels handling tasks.
The only security staff I came across on BR were gatehouse keepers at Depot & works locations. Elsewhere as you say it was usually RO1-2 grades on night cleaning. shunting or parcels duties
 

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It feels its a bit unfair to tar all the staff of Carlisle as rent-a-thugs, most I've worked with aren't bad folks. The company itself howver is very poorly run with lax recruitment and training. Its not really surprising they end up with power crazy nut jobs on the books.
 

tspaul26

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I assume that a civil action against Merseyrail, Carlisle and these two convicted rentathugs will follow. It will cost them dearly and l personally hope that they end up personally bankrupted.
This should not be necessary: the sentencing court can normally impose ancillary orders which mean that the victim is compensated and the malfeasor himself has to pay.
 

43066

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100% agree. Most private security on the railway is an utter scourge, and it seems to be something which has exploded in scale over the last few years.

To be fair there are some good ones, but they seem to be the exception. We really don't need our stations teaming with imitation cops dressed up in ever more over-the-top gear.

Is the use of private security guards a Merseyrail/northern thing? I can’t recall seeing specific security guards in the London area, or elsewhere in the south east for that matter. The closest I’ve experienced is probably railway enforcement officers, who are salaried TOC employees.

The “Ontrak” people you and I have both commented on before seem to do very little generally, and this seems to include not getting involved in security matters!

Clearly it needs big strong blokes (or women), but it needs military style professionalism, not thugs who do it because they'd never get any other job as is far too common.

I agree.

Sadly this kind of thing is an inevitable result of the casualisation of the railway work force. I’d rather see the industry recruiting these staff directly on reasonable Ts and Cs, training them properly and paying them a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work (a la the REOs I mentioned above).

That would instil a sense of professionalism that you simply won’t get from people who only take on the job because the job centre has forced them to apply, or because they’re unemployable elsewhere.
 

fgwrich

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Nothing makes my heart sink like private security on the railway. There should be no place for it. It should be properly trained and equipped railway employees, or BTP constables. I am a train guard armed with no more than my wits and when private security get involved with almost anything I invariably seem to end up picking up the pieces, including on at least one occasion a few years ago now physically dragging the "security officer" off my train when they'd lost control of a conflict situation.

It never ceases to amaze me that you can go to somewhere like Belgium and see smart, professional looking security officers on the railway and yet come to the UK and it's farmed out to contractors, as often as not wielding nothing but an SIA badge and a hi vis with Security on it.

It's not just private security on the railway that makes my heart sink either, some of the Agency Staff I've come across being used by the likes of SWR really cannot fathom much of the concept of their job, and are just utterly gormless. I have had mixed situations with Private Security Staff on the railways - some have been absolute nightmares to work with and will either just stand there watching you get into a situation, or just disappear altogether, while others would actually come to my assistance and have helped to calm the situation down (Particularly when assigned to Revenue Ops, where the aggressor has been the TOC Revenue Inspector!).

I do wish though, as you mention, we could have an approach far more akin to that of Europe with smart and professional and dedicated security officers, paid for by the railway to work on the railway.
 

Bletchleyite

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Is the use of private security guards a Merseyrail/northern thing? I can’t recall seeing specific security guards in the London area, or elsewhere in the south east for that matter. The closest I’ve experienced is probably railway enforcement officers, who are salaried TOC employees.

WMT use contract security for anti suicide patrols and gatelines out of hours (they have no revenue role so can't do any more than point people to the TVM, but it is an effective deterrent against casual evasion), I don't think it's the same company, though. They generally seem OK.
 

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A Manchester inquest earlier this year heard how a man died after being chased by Metrolink contract security staff. Agreed these private armies have no place on the public transport network:


 

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How many of these "security personnel" can be employed for the cost of a BTP constable?
 

SteveM70

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I'd rather see mandatory non-suspended prison sentences for people who, by virtue of their training, should know how to restrain and evict without causing injury, and thus can be expected not to lose their temper, unlike an untrained member of the public in a similar position.

It feels its a bit unfair to tar all the staff of Carlisle as rent-a-thugs, most I've worked with aren't bad folks. The company itself howver is very poorly run with lax recruitment and training. Its not really surprising they end up with power crazy nut jobs on the books.

And there’s the nub of the problem.

The goons will doubtless run a “we weren’t properly trained” defence
 

AndrewE

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How many of these "security personnel" can be employed for the cost of a BTP constable?

Or indeed a PCSO. Do BTP have PCSOs or similar?
And are we prepared to continue to let our public transport be policed by companies selected and people recruited by those who know "the price of everything and the value of nothing?"
You get what you pay for... don't get me going about "efficiency" again!
 

Bletchleyite

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And there’s the nub of the problem.

The goons will doubtless run a “we weren’t properly trained” defence

Perhaps better regulation of training. SIA could be beefed up to include stronger minimum standards, ongoing assessment etc. The companies are clearly incapable of doing it themselves, which is when the State should step in (a bit like we have the Traffic Commissioners because many, though admittedly not all, bus companies can't be trusted to run roadworthy vehicles to the published timetable).

The industry clearly has a role, but it does strike me that it needs to be forced to professionalise.
 
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zwk500

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Perhaps better regulation of training, perhaps.
Definitely. Also the railway companies should have a policy where companies are removed from the approved contractors list if their staff are involved in incidents like this, and can't be put back on until they demonstrate compliance with the railways requirements. If there isn't an approved list, there definitely should be.
 

lordbusiness

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Or indeed a PCSO. Do BTP have PCSOs or similar?
Yes, BTP do have PCSOs and Specials too.

The main problem is that outside of major cities BTP are very thin on the ground. Very often there are no BTP officers available to respond to incidents hence the railway having to employ other agencies to cover. Basically in many cases they're all there is- contracted security staff or nothin g
 
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