What’s the point in barriers?

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Bensonby

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I’m a police officer (not BTP). I won’t give away the time, TOC, or location, but recently, whilst I was off duty, someone tailgated me through the barriers. I immediately stopped him, identified myself as a police officer, and asked him to accompany me back behind the gate line. I asked him some questions about his (lack of) ticket, where he had come from etc, and called over the staff. When I asked them whether they wished to issue to penalty fare etc they said that they weren’t able to as their role was only “customer service”. When I asked what they’d like done they just shrugged. Accordingly, I let the fare evader go on their way with words of advice.

What’s the point of barriers if there is no desire or interest in preventing fare evaders? I’m minded not to bother next time (I will bother: it’s in my nature).
 
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Mawkie

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I’m a police officer (not BTP). I won’t give away the time, TOC, or location, but recently, whilst I was off duty, someone tailgated me through the barriers. I immediately stopped him, identified myself as a police officer, and asked him to accompany me back behind the gate line. I asked him some questions about his (lack of) ticket, where he had come from etc, and called over the staff. When I asked them whether they wished to issue to penalty fare etc they said that they weren’t able to as their role was only “customer service”. When I asked what they’d like done they just shrugged. Accordingly, I let the fare evader go on their way with words of advice.

What’s the point of barriers if there is no desire or interest in preventing fare evaders? I’m minded not to bother next time (I will bother: it’s in my nature).
We need more people like you! You did the best that anyone can hope for by delaying them for a few minutes.

I can only speak towards the Underground policy, which is to avoid all confrontation, and even when staff do get involved, there is literally nothing they can do except fill in a simple report on their Ipad (in the vague hope that somebody, somewhere, acknowledges the issues). This 'intel' is gathered centrally, whereafter your station may get a visit from the Revenue Inspectors for a couple of hours one morning. A lot of gateline staff are extremely disheartened by the levels of fare evasion, and I know customers are jarred off by it too because they like to tell me

Incidentally, I have seen an increase in the amount of 'respectable' fare evaders - the ones who are on their way to/from work (rather than the crack-heads that push through the Wide Aisle Gates) and they usually double gate behind someone with a ticket.
 

pompeyfan

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To be fair gateline staff are paid a pittance, and a lot are now agency staff with very little training.

I've always thought that barriers should be worked by a cross between a PCSO type role and an RPI, it would certainly provide more of a deterrent
 

Snow1964

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To be fair gateline staff are paid a pittance, and a lot are now agency staff with very little training.

I've always thought that barriers should be worked by a cross between a PCSO type role and an RPI, it would certainly provide more of a deterrent

So is a gate line for revenue protection
If yes, why is it not staffed by revenue protection RP staff

If not going to be staffed to protect revenue, why have it, unenforced barriers seem pointless to stop fare dodgers
 

AlterEgo

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So is a gate line for revenue protection
If yes, why is it not staffed by revenue protection RP staff

If not going to be staffed to protect revenue, why have it, unenforced barriers seem pointless to stop fare dodgers
Revenue protection staff have specific training and the role requires slightly different skills to customer service and gateline staff. They're also paid more. it would be sort of like saying why all the checkout staff in Tesco aren't all security qualified.

Barriers are there as a sieve, to get most people to buy a ticket (it might not always be the right ticket!). Of course, a few will slip through, but they protect more revenue than a totally ungated station. They're most useful in areas where customers won't meet an on-train ticket check.
 

Hadders

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Barriers aren't going to stop every instance of fare evasion. It's about balancing up the cost of fare evasion against the cost of installing and maintaining the barriers, the cost of staffing them, the deterrent they provide to the vast majority of people, and providing a secure environment (e.g. reducing anti-social behaviour).
 

pompeyfan

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I would suggest barriers are there more to encourage the “pay when challenged” brigade to purchase a ticket. There are ways and means around getting around a gateline but it’s enough of an encouragement for the majority.
 

ComUtoR

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What’s the point of barriers if there is no desire or interest in preventing fare evaders? I’m minded not to bother next time (I will bother: it’s in my nature).

Why did you not arrest them ?
 

yorkie

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Why did you not arrest them ?
Would tailgating through a gateline be an arrestable offence?

Revenue protection staff have specific training and the role requires slightly different skills to customer service and gateline staff. They're also paid more. it would be sort of like saying why all the checkout staff in Tesco aren't all security qualified.

Barriers are there as a sieve, to get most people to buy a ticket (it might not always be the right ticket!). Of course, a few will slip through, but they protect more revenue than a totally ungated station. They're most useful in areas where customers won't meet an on-train ticket check.
Agreed.

I’m a police officer (not BTP). I won’t give away the time, TOC, or location, but recently, whilst I was off duty, someone tailgated me through the barriers. I immediately stopped him, identified myself as a police officer, and asked him to accompany me back behind the gate line. I asked him some questions about his (lack of) ticket, where he had come from etc, and called over the staff. When I asked them whether they wished to issue to penalty fare etc ..
Just to clarify unless the customer was entering a CTA (compulsory ticket area), a Penalty Fare could not be issued if the journey had not yet commenced.

Furthermore, only specifically trained staff ('authorised collectors') can issue penalty fares.

Did the staff issue a regular fare?
 

ComUtoR

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Would tailgating through a gateline be an arrestable offence?

I don't know (hence asking) However, if I was stopped by a police officer, detained and questioned I would hope it was because I comitted a crime or I was suspected of comitting a crime. In this case there was clear fare evasion, which, according to this forum can be a crime and you can end up in court. So I'm interested why the fare evader wasn't arrested.
 

yorkie

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Merely passing through the gateline in this manner is a very minor byelaw offence.

However a prosecution for a more serious offence of deliberate fare evasion could proceed, depending on any further evidence, such as what the accused says if interviewed under caution.

For example they could be asked why they tailgated, whether they were travelling, where travelling to, how they intended to pay etc.
 

pedr

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Would tailgating through a gateline be an arrestable offence?
A police officer may arrest, without a warrant, any person whom that officer reasonably believes has committed an offence, if one or more of the conditions for arrest is satisfied (PACE s.24). The classification of 'arrestable' and 'non-arrestable' offences doesn't really exist any more. The conditions are unlikely to be satisfied in most fare-related railway cases so arrest wouldn't be lawful in most circumstances, but if a person fails to give an address, or a police officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person is giving a false address, they could be arrested 'to enable the [address] of the person ... to be ascertained' (s. 24 (5) (a) and (b)).

Of course this means that a person might feel under some compulsion to co-operate with police requests which they are not actually required to comply with, despite not being under arrest (like being asked to return the other side of the barriers and have a conversation) because if they don't co-operate, the conditions for arrest are more likely to be satisfied (for instance e) 'to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person in question'.)
 
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Should the BTP have been called in this instance? Judging by some recent posts in this forum they might have been interested in taking the persons fingerprints and photograph.
 

pedr

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As can be seen on this forum, there is a very wide range of actions police and other authorities can take. This means that very similar cases will sometimes be treated very differently, without anyone acting improperly. That’s usually seen as a positive feature of our systems, though of course it can lead to outcomes which appear unfair and can, sometimes, mean that systemic or implicit inequality can be hard to identify and challenge.
 

Haywain

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Penalty Fare could not be issued if the journey had not yet commenced.
“back behind the gateline ” and “where he had come from” suggest this would have occurred at the end of a journey.
I don't know (hence asking) However, if I was stopped by a police officer, detained and questioned I would hope it was because I comitted a crime or I was suspected of comitting a crime. In this case there was clear fare evasion, which, according to this forum can be a crime and you can end up in court. So I'm interested why the fare evader wasn't arrested.
You live in an innocent world, I’m afraid.
 

RPI

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It varies by TOC, certainly GWR gateline assistants are retail trained and most (soon to be all) are PF trained, from what I can gather GWR gateline staff are higher paid than some other TOC'S (though still not on great pay), as said above though lots of TOC'S just use agency staff who aren't trained to do much other than operate gates
 

clagmonster

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I suppose the barriers are more of an encouragement for people to pay their fare. Many casual fare evaders, the so called 'pay when challenged' brigade, will pay their fare if they know they will encounter a barrier rather than forcing a barrier, tailgaiting or similar activity. Random revenue should come across anyone doing these activities at any frequency I imagine.

As to what should have happened in this situation, I am surprised that the barrier staff didn't suggest that you escort the passengers to fare paying facilities, ie booking office or ticket vending machine. Even if the latter couldn't remotely issue the fare, a full fare single issued the 'wrong way round' would be some form of penalty I suppose.

The other option of course, if you are able, would be to take details and report for prosecution via your own force.
 

Bensonby

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Why did you not arrest them ?
Because I asked the staff what they wanted to do and they didn’t want me to do anything. Simply, I’m not taking up 5 or 6 hours of my time whilst off duty arresting someone if the victim doesn’t actually want to know. I could have potentially taken his details to summons him, but whilst off duty I have no way of verifying his details unless he provided ID, but, again, the railway staff didn’t want to know.

To be honest, I was expecting the staff to have a pad where they could write out a penalty fare and/or an unpaid fares notice gets forwarded to their revenue department.

As a rule of thumb as a police officer, especially so when off duty, my actions are broadly lead by what the victim wants to do. If they aren’t interested, then I rarely would someone be prosecuted (with some notable exceptions).
 

RPI

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Because I asked the staff what they wanted to do and they didn’t want me to do anything. Simply, I’m not taking up 5 or 6 hours of my time whilst off duty arresting someone if the victim doesn’t actually want to know. I could have potentially taken his details to summons him, but whilst off duty I have no way of verifying his details unless he provided ID, but, again, the railway staff didn’t want to know.

To be honest, I was expecting the staff to have a pad where they could write out a penalty fare and/or an unpaid fares notice gets forwarded to their revenue department.

As a rule of thumb as a police officer, especially so when off duty, my actions are broadly lead by what the victim wants to do. If they aren’t interested, then I rarely would someone be prosecuted (with some notable exceptions).
For one I am very grateful when people such as yourselves help out like this and if you did this at a station where I was working I'd happily have taken the offender from you and interviewed then under caution before reporting them!
 

Mawkie

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Because I asked the staff what they wanted to do and they didn’t want me to do anything. Simply, I’m not taking up 5 or 6 hours of my time whilst off duty arresting someone if the victim doesn’t actually want to know. I could have potentially taken his details to summons him, but whilst off duty I have no way of verifying his details unless he provided ID, but, again, the railway staff didn’t want to know.

To be honest, I was expecting the staff to have a pad where they could write out a penalty fare and/or an unpaid fares notice gets forwarded to their revenue department.

As a rule of thumb as a police officer, especially so when off duty, my actions are broadly lead by what the victim wants to do. If they aren’t interested, then I rarely would someone be prosecuted (with some notable exceptions).
For what it's worth, I am eternally grateful to the BTP, and Met, and off duty officers from lots of forces across the country - all of whom have helped me out professionally in the past. We all make judgements in our work environments based on the situation at the time - frankly I'm impressed you took time out of your off duty time to address this issue - I doubt I would have done the same.
 

Chriso

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I totally agree I remember last year seeing a similar situation at Stratford where a scrote tailgated an off duty police officer and the policeman spoke to station staff who could not issue a penalty fare. The copper then demanded the scrote top up his oyster or he would take him to the station and file a report.

I was extremely impressed as it is so frustrating watching how brazen some fare evaders are these days in London
 

Horizon22

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It varies by TOC, certainly GWR gateline assistants are retail trained and most (soon to be all) are PF trained, from what I can gather GWR gateline staff are higher paid than some other TOC'S (though still not on great pay), as said above though lots of TOC'S just use agency staff who aren't trained to do much other than operate gates

And even then "operate gates" isn't done very well - lots of just pulling gates open when people get stuck as opposed to the official methods.
 

robbeech

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In some cases it seems to be about personal gain, if there is no way to gain anything then sitting down and ignoring everything going on will do just fine. It's the same pay packet.

In other cases it is about effort vs reward (which i suppose is similar to above). A TOC can find someone who is willing to take their chances following someone through a barrier and attempt to prosecute them. There is a risk that person will turn violent, nobody wants to deal with that. There is little chance that they'll admit to having enough money for the fare, let alone an undiscounted single or a penalty fare and the hassle of trying to prosecute this type of person is likely more trouble than it is worth. There is little to no incentive to do so.

On the other hand, if you as a TOC have saved money by not fixing the ticket machine at a popular unstaffed station that has lay broken for several weeks, and you as a TOC get your revenue team to target trains that have called at that station and issue penalty fares to those people who do not have tickets, then this is an easy revenue source. It is made easier by the fact that the people here are WILLING to pay for their travel so they definitely have the means to pay. These are much more lucrative targets and will always be the better ones to go for when revenue is the priority and barriers are the best way to filter all of these people with minimal effort.
 

Paul Jones 88

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I once had someone trying to tailgate me at Tottenham Hale, I stepped back and 'accidentally' trod on their toes, my work boots against their designer trainers, LOL!
 

DorkingMain

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It varies by TOC, certainly GWR gateline assistants are retail trained and most (soon to be all) are PF trained, from what I can gather GWR gateline staff are higher paid than some other TOC'S (though still not on great pay), as said above though lots of TOC'S just use agency staff who aren't trained to do much other than operate gates
Unfortunately more and more of the regular fare evaders are realising this
 

FOH

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Watching the staff at London Bridge they never bother with obvious evaders bursting through or double shuffling. They are however more than happy to pounce on a granny whose ticket was wrong.
 

Kite159

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Watching the staff at London Bridge they never bother with obvious evaders bursting through or double shuffling. They are however more than happy to pounce on a granny whose ticket was wrong.

Sadly going after Granny makes for an easier target as she is unlikely to put up a fight or be carrying a weapon
 

Alex27

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Watching the staff at London Bridge they never bother with obvious evaders bursting through or double shuffling. They are however more than happy to pounce on a granny whose ticket was wrong.
Unfortunately there's nothing they can do about people pushing through, even if they radio for btp, the btp are unlikely to get there in time
 

Bensonby

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Is a police officer allowed to arrest someone when off duty?
Yes. Absolutely. Much to the surprise and chagrin of a chap I encountered at London Victoria once. A police officer has the same powers when on or off duty*: obviously, there are good practical reasons why an officer may not exercise their full range of powers off duty, but they are a police officer 24/7.


*there are some, limited, powers that can only be exercised by an officer in uniform but, again, the on/off duty distinction is not made in law.
 
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