Staff member stabbed seven times at Bromley South

Flange Squeal

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The RMT Union have released a statement today following one member of staff being stabbed seven times, and another having a tooth knocked out, at Bromley South this afternoon. According to the Evening Standard, British Transport Police say a teenage boy has been arrested.

31 May 2021

RMT Press Office:

RMT condemns lack of action on union warnings over safety as member is stabbed at Bromley South today.

RAIL UNION RMT today demanded that rail bosses take full responsibility for the stabbing of a member at Bromley South today after they ignored union warnings that violence on Southeastern was out of control and a serious incident of this nature was bound to happen.
The RMT member was stabbed seven times today and another member had a tooth knocked out.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said;
"RMT has been warning for months that violence on the London end of Southeastern was out of control and that someone was going to get killed or seriously injured and today the inaction of company bosses has left one of our members stabbed seven times.
"Our thoughts are with our member and his colleagues and we are offering our full practical and legal support and we hope he makes a full recovery.
"We are also furious that this incompetent and dismissive attitude by Southeastern in respect of violence against staff has led to this. They should certainly be investigated by the police for their culpability.
"I want an urgent meeting with the head of Southeastern to discuss this brutal attack and the working environment that enabled it and I want action taken on the ground in conjunction with our reps and the police and I want it now. This violence against rail workers must stop. "

A teenage boy has been arrested after an employee at Bromley South railway station was attacked on Monday afternoon.

The railway staff member had to be taken to hospital because of injuries sustained in the assault

Police were called to the station at 1.09pm.

A spokesperson for British Transport Police spokesperson told MyLondon that a staff member had been taken to a nearby hospital.

They said: “British Transport Police were called at 1:09pm, May 31, to Bromley South station following a report that a member of railway staff had been assaulted.

“Officers are in attendance and a teenage boy has been arrested.

“A member of staff has been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.”

Thameslink tweeted: “The police are dealing with an incident at Bromley South which means the station is exit only at the moment.

“Please avoid travel from the station until further notice.”

Passengers were unable to board trains at the station, the statement added, with local bus services accepting tickets.
 
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londonteacher

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The RMT Union have released a statement today following one member of staff being stabbed seven times, and another having a tooth knocked out, at Bromley South this afternoon. According to the Evening Standard, British Transport Police say a teenage boy has been arrested.




I hope for a speedy recovery of all involved.

But, if the RMT had evidence that an attack was likely to happen why did they not speak to the BTP? Or call for strike action?
 

Sleepy

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I hope for a speedy recovery of all involved.

But, if the RMT had evidence that an attack was likely to happen why did they not speak to the BTP? Or call for strike action?
BTP are unlikely to take any action until a crime takes place with their limited resources.
 

Horizon22

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Geez, my former local station. I was wondering what was causing the station to be closed for such a long time. That's a very strong release from the RMT. I don't think the "London end" of Southeastern is any more dangerous than any other TOC in London. I wonder what specific evidence they could point to that it was bound to happen.

Anyway my thoughts with the staff member involved, hopefully they make a full recovery.
 
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The Southeastern suburban lines have always been notorious for trouble.
Hopefully the staff member will make a full recovery and receive decent compensation from Southeastern for work injury and trauma.
 

PupCuff

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Very sad to hear and I hope the staff member makes a speedy recovery. I've been assaulted myself in the past at work (luckily nowhere near as badly as this staff member) and it's not a good situation to find yourself in at all.

It's worth a timely reminder for folk to please please please always remember to report abuse or physical assaults they encounter in their work to the police and to their TOC - when decisions are being made about where to deploy security/police resources then a review of reported incidents across the network is e going to be the key thing that will inform decisions of where they go. And, if it's the case that there were indeed repeated reported incidents at this location, then it gives the RMT a stronger position to say that the TOC didn't do enough. If as an industry we can pick up on issues whilst they're the low-level anti-social behaviour or assault and abuse and 'nip it in the bud' that then reduces the risk of a serious incident happening.

But, if the RMT had evidence that an attack was likely to happen why did they not speak to the BTP? Or call for strike action?
Typically you wouldn't expect that level of co-operation between a trade union and the police, it isn't really their place to do it although I guess there isn't any reason they couldn't do it the same as any other member of the public. In any case if the proposed action included provision of additional police resources that cost would have to be borne by the TOC who will also have to consider the bigger picture.
 

XAM2175

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But, if the RMT had evidence that an attack was likely to happen why did they not speak to the BTP? Or call for strike action?
I wonder what specific evidence they could point to that it was bound to happen.

I suspect that the RMT's press release should be read as saying that they had concerns about a proliferation of anti-social behaviour that, if not checked, could potentially develop at short notice into an incident like this. Sprinkle on just a wee nip of hyperbole - a spice the RMT are, regrettably, no strangers to using - and "we had heightened level of concern about the safety of staff and passengers" becomes "we knew that this very thing would happen!"

Nevertheless it is worth enquiring as to the ways in which these concerns were expressed and the actions that were taken as a result.
 

Davester50

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I hope for a speedy recovery of all involved.

But, if the RMT had evidence that an attack was likely to happen why did they not speak to the BTP? Or call for strike action?
After incidents at Lewisham, they released this:-

RMT is issuing the following demands from station operator Southeastern:
· current weak risk assessments are shredded and replaced with ones that are strengthened and take into account the risk of assault
· the company takes appropriate steps to protect staff, including the request of an additional British Transport Police presence
· the company provides proper chain of care following incidents
· an end to lone working in the station which leaves workers vulnerable
· prominent publicity campaign and announcements at the station publicising zero tolerance to assaults

Best wishes to the poor victims.
 

Adam Williams

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I hope they throw the book at the perpetrator.

Fingers crossed the victims make as speedy a recovery as possible.
 

ComUtoR

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"we had heightened level of concern about the safety of staff and passengers" becomes "we knew that this very thing would happen!"

A staff member was stabbed 7 times and had a tooth knocked out. How mnay times should staff members be attacked abd hospitalised before the company takes action. There is no hyperbole. It needs to stop and the company needs to take decisive action rather than underplaying it every time.
 

XAM2175

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A staff member was stabbed 7 times and had a tooth knocked out. How mnay times should staff members be attacked abd hospitalised before the company takes action. There is no hyperbole. It needs to stop and the company needs to take decisive action rather than underplaying it every time.
None. I made my remarks in response to questions about it potentially being known in advance that this specific incident would occur. I apologise if I've underestimated the scale of the problem with violence on the inner sections of the Southeastern route, or if I've not known of previous incidents where staff have been injured.
 

ComUtoR

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None. I made my remarks in response to questions about it potentially being known in advance that this specific incident would occur. I apologise if I've underestimated the scale of the problem with violence on the inner sections of the Southeastern route, or if I've not known of previous incidents where staff have been injured.

This is in no way an isolated incident. Assauts on staff are unfortunatley quite a common occurance and not just at SE. I'm sure many railworkers across the country are acutely aware of the day to day abuse staff receive.
 

tpjm

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This is a truly awful incident to hear of and my thoughts are with the victims, wishing a speedy recovery.

I echo the thoughts above - if you work on the front line, please report any physical or verbal assault immediately. The more reports that are logged, more power of challenge is available, not just to unions, but also to managers who often find it difficult, if not impossible, to convince BTP to change/increase patrols.

That said, I do take issue with the tone of the RMT on some occasions. I am yet to see evidence of their competency to decide what constitutes a robust “risk assessment” and I question how they could have “known” that an incident was going to happen in this instance. It will make for very interesting reading should anything else be shared publicly on this event.
 

Spartacus

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None. I made my remarks in response to questions about it potentially being known in advance that this specific incident would occur. I apologise if I've underestimated the scale of the problem with violence on the inner sections of the Southeastern route, or if I've not known of previous incidents where staff have been injured.

Shockingly there's been at least two more staff assaults in the previous 24hrs, including one other (comparably minor) stabbing. Some people just seem to be intent on acting like wild animals these days.
 

ComUtoR

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and I question how they could have “known” that an incident was going to happen in this instance.

Why do you question it ? Its blatantly obvious. Standard anti-union bias or a genuine lack of understanding ?

It's pretty simple.

  • Staff constantly verbally assaulted.
  • Ticket and gate line issues.
  • Staff continually physically assaulted.
  • High degree of criminal activity on the station.
  • Number of calls to local police.
  • Previous incidents of violence at this location.
  • Local crime statistics.

Someone getting stabbed.... Yeah totally unpredictable !
 

PupCuff

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Why do you question it ? Its blatantly obvious. Standard anti-union bias or a genuine lack of understanding ?

It's pretty simple.

  • Staff constantly verbally assaulted.
  • Ticket and gate line issues.
  • Staff continually physically assaulted.
  • High degree of criminal activity on the station.
  • Number of calls to local police.
  • Previous incidents of violence at this location.
  • Local crime statistics.

Someone getting stabbed.... Yeah totally unpredictable !

I would say in fairness, it's only blatantly obvious if you know the patch and the history of that location. What I should expect to see really would be someone (or team or whatever) in the head office function monitoring these types of statistics and trends, and working with the appropriate managers to put measures in place where they're needed. Certainly all reports of verbal abuse, assault/violence, vandalism, police callouts etc will be recorded in the data so if one train or location is standing head and shoulders above the rest then that should be a focus for police/revenue/security resources etc. Local crime statistics, probably less so though that should be considered at risk assessments at local level.
 

RJ

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I'm genuinely sorry to hear that a member of staff has been so brutally assaulted and hope they make a speedy recovery, both physically and psychologically.
 
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This is really sad news. I hope the individual makes a full and speedy recovery.

I'm ashamed to say I didn't appreciate how much violence was directed to staff on a daily basis at some stations, it really is sickening stuff.

I hope real change can come about because of this, becaus it's unacceptable that anyone be exposed to this sort of risk.
 

Jozhua

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It's one thing when people decide to form gangs chase each other round a city with guns and knifes like an out of control playground game, but when they end up killing or injuring people who really had no choice in the matter, it is perticularly upsetting.

I don't really know what the answer is to this problem, other than tackling violent crime across the board. The issue with weapons is that as they become more commonplace, others get them for their "protection". Sometimes that concern is legitimate, other times an excuse covering up further intentions.

There does appear to be somewhat of a trend of increasing weapons, although it is really hard to define and obviously contingent on the area.

In the meantime, measures like more station police, stab vests, or closures of stations at certain times, may have to take place.

Doing this to a random member of staff, is pretty evil stuff, I hope they go on to recover to the best of their ability and hopefully find a way to continue their career if they choose.
 

matt_world2004

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Gatelines ,general station ambience and high levels of station staffing has been shown to decrease the risk of violence against station staff and passengers as well as decrease the risk of suicides

Indeed the high levels of violence on the Watford DC lines contributed to silverlink losing their franchise

The southeastern metro is infamous for its poor levels of staffing and poor station ambience in some places.

High levels of callouts to the police from southeastern staff for ticketing issues seems to indicate a lack of training on the matter , which is southeasterns responsibility. Or a fear from southeastern staff based on previous experience that these situations will escalate.
 

RJ

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It's one thing when people decide to form gangs chase each other round a city with guns and knifes like an out of control playground game, but when they end up killing or injuring people who really had no choice in the matter, it is perticularly upsetting.

I don't really know what the answer is to this problem, other than tackling violent crime across the board. The issue with weapons is that as they become more commonplace, others get them for their "protection". Sometimes that concern is legitimate, other times an excuse covering up further intentions.

There does appear to be somewhat of a trend of increasing weapons, although it is really hard to define and obviously contingent on the area.

In the meantime, measures like more station police, stab vests, or closures of stations at certain times, may have to take place.

Doing this to a random member of staff, is pretty evil stuff, I hope they go on to recover to the best of their ability and hopefully find a way to continue their career if they choose.

A lot of people in gangs at a young age lack family and financial stability. Being a preteen who is expected to bring money home leaves some vulnerable to being groomed into that world. The idea is to stop these people getting into that life where carrying a weapon is the norm in the first place, but treating the cause is sometimes a lot harder than treating the symptoms. It is deplorable that anyone should attack someone who is doing their job. And if the problem is rife in particular areas then there should be more security and police resource in place to protect people. Not just staff, but passengers too.

Round where I work, staff have adopted ways of engaging in as little conflict as possible precisely because there isn't always help available. And fortunately we have a very good manager who supports us in doing so. Just have to go to work and hope not to be unlucky enough to be assaulted completely at random with no opportunity to deescalate by someone who needs to be removed from general society.
 
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bicbasher

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First of all, my thoughts with the staff members involved in Monday's incident.

I see not much has changed at Southeastern with regards to security for not only passengers, but staff too. As a former commuter on Southeastern's metro services, especially at night it always felt intimidating and I was mugged on a Dartford via Woolwich Arsenal stopper on a Saturday afternoon in the late noughties because those stations weren't gated, so you'd get all types getting on those trains.
 

gimmea50anyday

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Gatelines ,general station ambience and high levels of station staffing has been shown to decrease the risk of violence against station staff and passengers as well as decrease the risk of suicides

Indeed the high levels of violence on the Watford DC lines contributed to silverlink losing their franchise

The southeastern metro is infamous for its poor levels of staffing and poor station ambience in some places.

High levels of callouts to the police from southeastern staff for ticketing issues seems to indicate a lack of training on the matter , which is southeasterns responsibility. Or a fear from southeastern staff based on previous experience that these situations will escalate.

  • Staff constantly verbally assaulted.
  • Ticket and gate line issues.
  • Staff continually physically assaulted.
  • High degree of criminal activity on the station.
  • Number of calls to local police.
  • Previous incidents of violence at this location.
  • Local crime statistics.

Until the rail industry as a whole realises this is all linked and starts taking revenue protection seriously and not the mere inconvenient box ticking exercise most TOCs treat it as then this will continue to happen. If an individual is carrying a knife then they intend to use it, its as simple as that, and in this case the victim was stabbed 7 times. Not once,7.That is deliberate and intentional. They may think it is for defence however a knife is not a defensive weapon, it can and will kill. Using a knife is attempted murder, and sadly many knife crime deaths are caused by the knife holders own weapon.

Its blatantly obvious, remove staff from stations and trains and it becomes a free-for-all. Yes it will cost money but when the travelling environment is safe and secure the gain in revenue from both increased patronage and better revenue collection will contribute significantly to the cost. It won't cover the cost but what price is safety worth it?
 
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thebigcheese

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Why do you question it ? Its blatantly obvious. Standard anti-union bias or a genuine lack of understanding ?

It's pretty simple.

  • Staff constantly verbally assaulted.
  • Ticket and gate line issues.
  • Staff continually physically assaulted.
  • High degree of criminal activity on the station.
  • Number of calls to local police.
  • Previous incidents of violence at this location.
  • Local crime statistics.

Someone getting stabbed.... Yeah totally unpredictable !
It's the fallacy of a completely unparticularised prediction. Eg "They'll be a car collision on the M25 tomorrow". Easy to assign in hindsight but so vague as to be completely pointless.
 
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alf

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BTP are unlikely to take any action until a crime takes place with their limited resources.
BTP have an annual budget of £300 million & 3,000 officers.
That is £100,000 per officer. (Including overheads)

A huge sum bearing in mind staff & the public rarely see them, except for occasional PR shows at main line stations.

Staff do not ring them because BTP response times are usually “non attendance” or in hours not minutes.

BTP need a good shake up, or abolition & the yearly £300 million given to proper police in rail trouble hot spots.

I hope that is one good thing that will come from this horrid event. But it won’t.

Like everyone else - very best wishes to the injured staff.
Lets hope the youth court do not give the offender one year which will lead to release in four months.
Sadly very likely- so his mates continue ur to realise there is no downside to “chagging” or whatever they call attempted murder.
 

Wilts Wanderer

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BTP need a good shake up, or abolition & the yearly £300 million given to proper police in rail trouble hot spots.

I hope that is one good thing that will come from this horrid event. But it won’t.

Abolishing the only police force with detailed knowledge and experience of the rail network would be an utterly stupid thing to do. For example, do you really think the local police force would be capable of managing a fatality incident while minimising delay and achieving a line reopening within 1-2 hours? Quite clearly not, they’d more likely throw blue tape around everything and declare it a crime scene, shut the job down for a day or so.

What needs to happen is an increase in resources for more BTP heads - whether the £100k per officer is value for money or not I have no idea - but then, do you have knowledge of how the BTP are administered? I imagine there is considerably more training in operational matters than normal police.

Police Scotland was originally going to absorb the BTP north of the border and it was abandoned once politicians were advised what an enormous misstep it would be.
 

Islineclear3_1

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Condolences to the staff member involved and to his personal (and work) family. Like many SE stations, Bromley South is notorious for anti-social behaviour and I wonder if this was fuelled by alcohol. No excuse of course

Bromley South is well staffed and uses train dispatchers, so it's not a desolate station as such.

Do customer-facing staff (at any TOC) undertake any conflict resolution training? Could this be enhanced? Surely, such training should be mandatory. Individual staff members need to know how to protect themselves and can't just solely rely on their employer; however, SE should do whatever is reasonably practical to foster a safe working environment for its staff.

Sadly though, these incidents will continue to happen unless there is some cultural change within the organisation
 

TFN

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Staff do not ring them because BTP response times are usually “non attendance” or in hours not minutes.

This is the attitude I have with them. I was assaulted once (not injury serious but the assaulter was more a danger to the railway and its passengers more than me).

The BTP showed up 45 mins later without any sirens or risk of urgency. Got a follow up call about it 3 months later asking for feedback and told them that they were cr*p.

Thoughts go out to the staff at Bromley South and hope they have a speedy recovery.
 

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