Northern Rail and G4S bullying

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DutchTrance

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I am new here and read through a few posts but it sounds like I'm not the only one with the concerns I have below.
For reference I did some work on bullying when I was a teacher so it is this particular aspect that always gets my back up. Some people may call me obstinant, other may feel im standing up for those who know little. I hope in any case you can help because where i find bullies, I tend to fight back.
This will be the 3rd time ive taken Northern rail to task, the first was when I was routinely threatened with Penalty fares for walking through a station (but never crossing the barriers into the station) on my way to work. I was told that as i appeared out the station i must have come from the station and thus been on a train. After being boxed in by 5 burlies and threatened, the police came and sorted it and I proved though adoption records that the station frontage was adopted highway. I got an apology and told it would not happen again, but it did. Alot!
The second time i was stopped for the reuse of a ticket. I explained it was a break in journey as a part of an onward connecting journey and i left the station for breakfast as train was not due to leave for another 30 mins or so but i was told there's no such thing and was asked to see the station manager. He claimed I could not use break in journey on an advance fair and i produced the conditions of carriage proving I could. I got a letter of apology and told it would not happened again. It did not.
Recently I went to work on a Monday as normal and passed though the ticket inspection (where my ticket was inspected by hand) un impeeded at my departure station. 25 minutes later when I got to my destination I (my self, not the ticket people) found out my monthly pass had expired on the sunday. I went straight to the manned ticket counter BEFORE passing through ticket inspection and i purchased a new monthly pass asking to keep the old one for refund at work as part of my expenses.
As i left the ticket counter, one of 2 G4S burlies came over in his bomber jacket, jeans and trainers and told me I HAD to tell him where id travelled from. Not knowing who he was, I stood my ground and refused asking why I had to do this. The G4S burly said I had travelled without a ticket and thus was liable for a penalty fare and I had to tell him where id travelled from. I refused again but asked to see his ID, which he refused to do this and threatened me with getting the 'enforcement gang' to come meet me and they would 'sort me out'.
I explained again that I had purchased a ticket and did not for one moment try to evade or dodge paying and indeed I was a daily train traveller, thus had a continuous stream of monthly tickets. He asked me to one side, which I did, and told me that he'd get me in future once my ticket ran out and he'd keep an eye out for me. I asked why i should tell him any thing when he refuses to identify him self.
Not happy with this attitude I asked him for an identification number as id be complaining and he tucked his lan yard under his jacket and said hed get me next time. I foolishly tried to move the lan yard out his jacket and he grabbed my hand and said I was not allowed to touch him. I asked the other G4S guy over and the Ticket counter man to witness this behaviour as i had not tried to touch him and both told the G4S guy to leave me alone. Again getting in my face he threatened me with courts and all sorts I asked again for his ID and told he an 'ID number', which was a 5 digit number. I asked if he'd finished, which he said he had an I went on my way.
Now im legally savvy and thus I can stand up to this guy, but others are not and his insistence that he had these fabulous legal powers bestowed on him and threats of other heavies would seriously intimidate others and its this that gets my back up.
I fully admit I travelled that morning without a valid ticket (which the ticket inspectors missed too so im only as stupid as they are at the worst) but i corrected my lack of ticket at the first opportunity available to me, exactly as per the conditions of carriage, and I feel I acted fairly and reasonably. His actions however were not and it is this that I am angry about.
Now i already know that G4S have no powers of arrest nor of detention as they claim they have but what powers DO they have as I intend to make sure this G4S gentleman does not get away with his bully boy tactics against others who cant stand upto him.
 
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bb21

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I'm actually quite confused as to what actually happened. Were your details taken? Were you issued with any paperwork?

For your previous incident, for the record, break of journey rights do not apply to Advance fares, so staff were correct on that front. However as I don't know the exact circumstance I am unable to comment as to whether they acted correctly because this can be affected by a number of factors.

With regard to your most recent incident, how did the conversation proceed exactly between you and G4S staff? There is a lot of emotional language in your account so I am struggling to picture the incident. Did you attempt to get physical with him by trying to grab his lanyard? Did you actually touch him?
 

yorkie

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I am new here and read through a few posts but it sounds like I'm not the only one with the concerns I have below.
For reference I did some work on bullying when I was a teacher so it is this particular aspect that always gets my back up. Some people may call me obstinant, other may feel im standing up for those who know little. I hope in any case you can help because where i find bullies, I tend to fight back.
This will be the 3rd time ive taken Northern rail to task, the first was when I was routinely threatened with Penalty fares for walking through a station (but never crossing the barriers into the station) on my way to work. I was told that as i appeared out the station i must have come from the station and thus been on a train. After being boxed in by 5 burlies and threatened, the police came and sorted it and I proved though adoption records that the station frontage was adopted highway. I got an apology and told it would not happen again, but it did. Alot!
Where was this?

I'll take a guess: Blackburn?
The second time i was stopped for the reuse of a ticket. I explained it was a break in journey as a part of an onward connecting journey and i left the station for breakfast as train was not due to leave for another 30 mins or so but i was told there's no such thing and was asked to see the station manager. He claimed I could not use break in journey on an advance fair and i produced the conditions of carriage proving I could. I got a letter of apology and told it would not happened again. It did not.
You can Break your journey on most ticket types, but not an Advance.

Recently I went to work on a Monday as normal and passed though the ticket inspection (where my ticket was inspected by hand) un impeeded at my departure station. 25 minutes later when I got to my destination I (my self, not the ticket people) found out my monthly pass had expired on the sunday. I went straight to the manned ticket counter BEFORE passing through ticket inspection and i purchased a new monthly pass asking to keep the old one for refund at work as part of my expenses.
As i left the ticket counter, one of 2 G4S burlies came over in his bomber jacket, jeans and trainers and told me I HAD to tell him where id travelled from. Not knowing who he was, I stood my ground and refused asking why I had to do this. The G4S burly said I had travelled without a ticket and thus was liable for a penalty fare and I had to tell him where id travelled from. I refused again but asked to see his ID, which he refused to do this and threatened me with getting the 'enforcement gang' to come meet me and they would 'sort me out'.
I explained again that I had purchased a ticket and did not for one moment try to evade or dodge paying and indeed I was a daily train traveller, thus had a continuous stream of monthly tickets. He asked me to one side, which I did, and told me that he'd get me in future once my ticket ran out and he'd keep an eye out for me. I asked why i should tell him any thing when he refuses to identify him self.
Not happy with this attitude I asked him for an identification number as id be complaining and he tucked his lan yard under his jacket and said hed get me next time. I foolishly tried to move the lan yard out his jacket and he grabbed my hand and said I was not allowed to touch him. I asked the other G4S guy over and the Ticket counter man to witness this behaviour as i had not tried to touch him and both told the G4S guy to leave me alone. Again getting in my face he threatened me with courts and all sorts I asked again for his ID and told he an 'ID number', which was a 5 digit number. I asked if he'd finished, which he said he had an I went on my way.
Now im legally savvy and thus I can stand up to this guy, but others are not and his insistence that he had these fabulous legal powers bestowed on him and threats of other heavies would seriously intimidate others and its this that gets my back up.
I fully admit I travelled that morning without a valid ticket (which the ticket inspectors missed too so im only as stupid as they are at the worst) but i corrected my lack of ticket at the first opportunity available to me, exactly as per the conditions of carriage, and I feel I acted fairly and reasonably. His actions however were not and it is this that I am angry about.
Now i already know that G4S have no powers of arrest nor of detention as they claim they have but what powers DO they have as I intend to make sure this G4S gentleman does not get away with his bully boy tactics against others who cant stand upto him.
They have a lot more power than you might think, it's unwise to stand up to them by touching them, no matter how bad they're behaving.

Why not contact your MP, complain to Passenger Focus, etc?

Though it's a bit harder now.

You need to ensure you have the 'upper hand'.
 

Clip

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Its also worth noting that Northern do not participate in the Penalty Fare scheme.
 

MikeWh

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It is possible that the break in journey was to use facilities on the concourse, given that the time spare is described as 30 minutes. I know that the OP said he left the station, but could that mean they left the platforms?
 

bb21

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I believe that it is a possibility, hence my conclusion that without further details of the case, it is impossible to comment whether staff acted appropriately.
 

DutchTrance

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Sorry for the emotional language, I will try and keep it more matter of fact, but thanks in any case for the replies so far and taking the time to do this.
I have never fare dodged so I assume what he was trying to do was issue me with a penalty fare, else why ask where I had traveled from other than to work out a cost and whether the station was manned or not? If he was giving advice then he'd not need to know this and at best did it very badly and escalated quickly.
As part of my work I traveled to Blackburn, had no problems there. This was at Salford crescent where 95% of large gangs of students are waved through without a ticket daily.
Firstly, I was issued with no paper work nor gave him any of my details. I feel he tried to bully me into issuing what he described as a penalty fare. He may well have been carrying out his duties correctly I agree but he knew I I had bought a ticket and then tried to begin procedures to issue me with a penalty fare afterwards.
Secondly I never touched him and I only raised this to ensure its an accurate account. When he took me to one side it was away from any other passengers as when he first spoke to me it was in a doorway with a lot of people milling about. Once away from the main group of passengers he began with the direct threats of waiting for me next time.
I wanted to identify this individual and he on purpose refused and covered his pass which hung around his neck in a lab yard. I reached out to move/uncover his ID and that's when he grabbed my hand. I know it was silly but I'd still say it was a reasonable thing to do. He repeatedly refused to identify him self and his id was available, just he moved it to make it not visible.
My concern is with what powers he has for other people, I have no problems dealing with him again and again. I have a bit of youthful vigor still left in me and enough basic knowledge to deal with his bully boy tactics but others do not. If he has the legal powers to issue penalty fares after I've bought a ticket, is able to single out people for Harresment every morning and can call in a good squad, then fine. I'll proceed from there in my letter of complaint and it's his attitude that needs changing. If on the other hand he was exaggerating his powers to threaten people into complying, then tried to directly threaten me and impeded my attempts to identify him then that's a different matter.
That's what I'm trying to find out. Are these guys full blown, arrest capable railway police or are they over acting ticket sales men?
 

Greenback

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I have never fare dodged so I assume what he was trying to do was issue me with a penalty fare, else why ask where I had traveled from other than to work out a cost and whether the station was manned or not? If he was giving advice then he'd not need to know this and at best did it very badly and escalated quickly.
Although Northern don't operate a Penalty Fare scheme, they have introduced their own way of dealing with identified ticketless travel, so yes, it could be that he was looking for evidence to that end.

As part of my work I traveled to Blackburn, had no problems there. This was at Salford crescent where 95% of large gangs of students are waved through without a ticket daily.
Speculation about whether other passengers have tickets or not is irrelevant and will not help you.

Firstly, I was issued with no paper work nor gave him any of my details. I feel he tried to bully me into issuing what he described as a penalty fare. He may well have been carrying out his duties correctly I agree but he knew I I had bought a ticket and then tried to begin procedures to issue me with a penalty fare afterwards.
It isn't a Penalty Fare, so you need to report this to Northern. By all means report your dissatisfaction with the way the person behaved at the same time.

Secondly I never touched him and I only raised this to ensure its an accurate account. When he took me to one side it was away from any other passengers as when he first spoke to me it was in a doorway with a lot of people milling about. Once away from the main group of passengers he began with the direct threats of waiting for me next time.
Let Northern know what happened, perhaps they may take action if there sufficient complaints.

I wanted to identify this individual and he on purpose refused and covered his pass which hung around his neck in a lab yard. I reached out to move/uncover his ID and that's when he grabbed my hand. I know it was silly but I'd still say it was a reasonable thing to do. He repeatedly refused to identify him self and his id was available, just he moved it to make it not visible.
Unfortunately, it isn't reasonable and this is how situations escalate. Don't meet poor behaviour with mor epoor behaviour!

My concern is with what powers he has for other people, I have no problems dealing with him again and again. I have a bit of youthful vigor still left in me and enough basic knowledge to deal with his bully boy tactics but others do not. If he has the legal powers to issue penalty fares after I've bought a ticket, is able to single out people for Harresment every morning and can call in a good squad, then fine. I'll proceed from there in my letter of complaint and it's his attitude that needs changing. If on the other hand he was exaggerating his powers to threaten people into complying, then tried to directly threaten me and impeded my attempts to identify him then that's a different matter.
The maxim I try and follow when standing up for myself is to make sure I know the law in the appropriate area. If I am not sure of something, i will not push it, as I may end up looking foolish. With respect, it seems that your desire to stand up for yourself may have overridden your lack of detailed knowledge of the railway regulations and the powers conferred on 'an officer of the railway'.

I don't wish to sound harsh, there have been many report sof poor behaviour by G4S staff, but it is important to focus on what is relevant. The person in question may have been in 'plain clothes' to follow and catch suspected serial evaders, so I would not mention anything about his dress.

Instead focus on their unprofessional manner, threats to 'get you next time' and the like. It's important to not only fight battles you can win, but to choose the best battlefield!

You don't need to go into detail of what happened (essentially it may boil down to on eperson's word against another anyway). Simply tell Northern the facts in an unemotional manner.


That's what I'm trying to find out. Are these guys full blown, arrest capable railway police or are they over acting ticket sales men?
In my view, it falls between the two extremes. Railway staff do have more powers than you may think, but they should not be abused. My conern would be on the unprofessional behaviour and the incorrect terminology used.
 

bb21

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I don't have much more else to add as Greenback has covered most of what I wanted to say already.

One thing I must emphasise is that you must resist the temptation to have any physical contact with the RPI. As you are a teacher, I am sure you don't need me to tell you the importance of keeping your hands off, as it instantly muddies the water. You don't always need a name to make a complaint. I am sure you are an observant person so you can always supply a detailed description of the member of staff in question if he refuses to cooperate. If a company wishes to take your complaint seriously, they will act on a detailed description.
 

drw53

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If the G4S employee was acting as an authorised person within the meaning of the byelaws, is it not true that failure to show identification when requested was an offence under section 3 of byelaw 24. Perhaps this should be reported to BTP as well as Northern Rail.
 

ValleyLines142

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When the OP mentions a break of journey on an Advance ticket, does (s)he refer to two seperate Advances? For example, I regularly have an Advance between Cardiff and Manchester and Manchester and Blackpool, so technically there is a break of journey, but only because there are two seperate tickets.

But of course on a full journey from A to B it is true that you cannot break your journey (e.g. if I was on an Advance from Manchester to Blackpool I couldn't BmJ at Preston or Bolton). However, is it not a different matter if it is just to access the catering services at a station? Or is a BoJ considered the moment when you pass through barriers/give your ticket to gate staff?

Also, IANAL but isn't it required by law for the G4S member of staff to give a customer their name and ID number, or whatever information they carry? Where I work (in Costa Coffee), if a customer wants to report me for whatever reason (not that they'd ever need to ;) ), then I'd have to give them my name, otherwise I'd be in serious trouble.

However, it certainly wasn't wise to grab the staff member's badge, although in the OP's defense he acted very, very unprofessionally, what with the 'I'll get you next time' talk.

I'm not going to sit here and judge matters, but I am very interested to see the outcome of all of this. Also, if I am wrong in any of my comments, please do not hesistate to tell me. Although I very heavily read this section of the forum, this is the first time I've commented in this area.
 
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GadgetMan

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As rail staff all we are required to provide is our first name.

The ID card/lanyard etc is for security purposes in non-public areas. It does not have to be on display in public areas and is not something the public can demand to see.

Not sure how G4S work, but plain clothed RPIs usually show their badge when introducing themselves to a passenger.
 

maniacmartin

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Also, IANAL but isn't it required by law for the G4S member of staff to give a customer their name and ID number
I disagree with GadgetMan. The railway Byelaws state:
Railway Byelaws said:
24. Enforcement
(...)
(3) Identification of authorised persons
An authorised person who is exercising any power conferred on him by any of
these Byelaws shall produce a form of identification when requested to do so
and such identification shall state the name of his employer and shall contain
a means of identifying the authorised person.
 

Nick W

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If anyone asks for your train ticket but does not give you any ID, surely you should treat them as any suspect criminal. G4S uniform could have been stolen so this makes no difference.

BTP website:
Please remember, if you need to report a crime please call us on 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016. In an emergency call 999.
 

GadgetMan

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If anyone asks for your train ticket but does not give you any ID, surely you should treat them as any suspect criminal. G4S uniform could have been stolen so this makes no difference.

BTP website:
ID card may have been home made or stolen too, in fact the whole station might be a fake with the train tracks rerouted to it by a criminal gang overnight.
 

yorkie

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However, is it not a different matter if it is just to access the catering services at a station? Or is a BoJ considered the moment when you pass through barriers/give your ticket to gate staff?
That's not a break of journey. You may find the Break your journey section in our Guide interesting. A meal/drink in the Wetherspoon pub in Leeds isn't a BOJ, for example.
...he acted very, very unprofessionally, what with the 'I'll get you next time' talk....
That will have been done to provoke a reaction. It's best not to give them one, at least not one on their terms where they hold all the cards.
 

ValleyLines142

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That's not a break of journey. You may find the Break your journey section in our Guide interesting. A meal/drink in the Wetherspoon pub in Leeds isn't a BOJ, for example.
Yeah, thought that was the case. I was looking at the OP's quote here:

I explained it was a break in journey as a part of an onward connecting journey and i left the station for breakfast as train was not due to leave for another 30 mins or so but i was told there's no such thing and was asked to see the station manager. He claimed I could not use break in journey on an advance fair and i produced the conditions of carriage proving I could.
So this would NOT be classified as a BoJ, from what you've told me, then?

yorkie said:
That will have been done to provoke a reaction. It's best not to give them one, at least not one on their terms where they hold all the cards.
Absolutely. Hence why I said it's probably just better to complain about the member of staff later on. Certainly attempting to give them a reaction isn't the way. forward.
 

Nick W

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ID card may have been home made or stolen too, in fact the whole station might be a fake with the train tracks rerouted to it by a criminal gang overnight.
I suspect the reasonable duty of care is for a passenger to check ID cards, for Northern to ensure ID cards are regularly scrutinized, reissued and given up to date security features and Network Rail to ensure their railway doesn't get rerouted. ;)

It wouldn't be the first time an infrastructure owner has claimed sabotage after all but let's stop there.
 

34D

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I'd be all for meeting the OP and walking out of Salford Crescent with them, together with the obligatory video.
 

BrownE

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I'd deem my company issued uniform with name badge on display (showing TOC logo, first name and job title) as being a 'form of identification'
Relevant people I've spoken with in First Great Western, First Capital Connect, Southern Railway, Greater Anglia, Chiltern Railways & Southeastern have all stated that there staff carry identification cards and that they should be presented to passengers on request when they are actively enforcing the Railway Byelaws or similar.

Other operators have either failed to reply (Virgin, Northern) or have sent nonsensical responses that someone in customer services had probably invented.

Some of the operators above stated that their staff should present the cards or at least their full name prior to any enforcement action. e.g. "I'm John Smith and I am a X for Y, this is my identification card"
 

Realfish

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ID card may have been home made or stolen too, in fact the whole station might be a fake with the train tracks rerouted to it by a criminal gang overnight.
Weren't there a few stories on here some time ago, telling of a scally(ies) impersonating RPI's on Merseyrail services, harvesting Penalty Fares or the like?
 

transmanche

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As an aside, I wonder why Northern use G4S?

Obviously, Northern is owned by Serco and Abellio. Yet G4S is a competitor to Serco for quite a few 'security' contracts (prisoner escort and the like). I'd have thought they'd prefer to keep the business themselves rather than use a rival.

Is the poor customer service offered by G4S staff a cunning plan by G4S to undermine Serco... (allegedly[*]) ;)



[*] For the benefit of any lawyers reading :D
 

Flamingo

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Relevant people I've spoken with in First Great Western, First Capital Connect, Southern Railway, Greater Anglia, Chiltern Railways & Southeastern have all stated that there staff carry identification cards and that they should be presented to passengers on request when they are actively enforcing the Railway Byelaws or similar.

Other operators have either failed to reply (Virgin, Northern) or have sent nonsensical responses that someone in customer services had probably invented.

Some of the operators above stated that their staff should present the cards or at least their full name prior to any enforcement action. e.g. "I'm John Smith and I am a X for Y, this is my identification card"
I will NEVER give my full name when asked by a passenger, or show them my ID card. There have been cases of passengers tracking staff down and turning up at the staff's home address to continue the discussion. I am not having some nutjob turning up to annoy my family or grafitti my house, thank you very much.

When we had name badges with a surname on it, in a lot of cases it was a made-up surname. On occasions, I will give my surname as "Smith" when asked.

As has been said, when I am on duty, I am in full company issued uniform wearing an issue name-badge. If this is not enough for somebody who I wish to talk to about a ticket irregularity (because that's what we are talking about), then that's their tough, they are just trying to play silly buggers if they claim it is not, and I don't play that (at least not by their rules). The general public have no right to see my security pass, this is to identify me to other rail staff when I am in non-public areas. The rest of the time it is in my pocket.

If anybody wishes to complain or compliment me to my managers (and I get more of the latter than the former), then writing in with my first name and the train I was on always seems to work.
 
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Greenback

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I will NEVER give my full name when asked by a passenger, or show them my ID card. There have been cases of passengers tracking staff down and turning up at the staff's home address to continue the discussion. I am not having some nutjob turning up to annoy my family or grafitti my house, thank you very much.

When we had name badges with a surname on it, in a lot of cases it was a made-up surname. On occasions, I will give my surname as "Smith" when asked.
I agree, and we used to do that back in the day when I worked for FGW.

As has been said, when I am on duty, I am in full company issued uniform wearing an issue name-badge. If this is not enough for somebody who I wish to talk to about a ticket irregularity (because that's what we are talking about), then that's their tough, they are just trying to play silly buggers if they claim it is not, and I don't play that (at least not by their rules). The general public have no right to see my security pass, this is to identify me to other rail staff when I am in non-public areas. The rest of the time it is in my pocket.
I won't disagree with any of that, but where a member of staff is not in uniform, for whatever reason (there were plenty of plain clothes RPI's in my day), then I would presumably that some sort of ID should be shown, even if it contains no name, just a staff number, or a made up name.

I wouldn't be happy in talking to someone dressed in a bomber jacket and jeans unless I was able to see some sort of verification that they were an authorised person. And that doesn't just apply to rail staff!
 

maniacmartin

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I don't think it has to be an ID card that has your full name, but there has to be some sort of ID card or badge or paperwork that has enough information that the TOC can identify you if a report is made. Do G4S even have name badges?
 

Flamingo

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I agree, and we used to do that back in the day when I worked for FGW.



I won't disagree with any of that, but where a member of staff is not in uniform, for whatever reason (there were plenty of plain clothes RPI's in my day), then I would presumably that some sort of ID should be shown, even if it contains no name, just a staff number, or a made up name.

I wouldn't be happy in talking to someone dressed in a bomber jacket and jeans unless I was able to see some sort of verification that they were an authorised person. And that doesn't just apply to rail staff!
RPI's have a metal badge in a wallet with a number on it, it looks a bit like a police badge.
 
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