Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.00 8 Jul 2019


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Irish Rail is to introduce up to 200 body cameras for staff to help combat anti-social behaviour on trains and DART services.

It is hoped workers will be kitted out before the end of this year.

The company says it is one of "a number of measures" it is implementing to reduce anti-social behaviour.

It has also worked with Southern Railways in the UK, which trialed the bodycams.

They found a reduction of up to 50% in incidents - particularly serious assaults in relation to staff - where these have been introduced.

A tender has been put out, with hopes of it being rolled out on a pilot basis for some Irish Rail staff later this year.

It is thought revenue protection and customer service officers will be the first to try the measure.

Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny told Newstalk Breakfast the bodycams are not like CCTV footage.

"It doesn't operate as a general always-on recording - it is something that is turned on to record when a member of staff is dealing with an incident, or an incident is developing".

"These would be both picture and sound, so you are actually capturing exactly what is happening and they're only activated in a situation where there is actually an incident or an employee is trying to address an incident".

"What you want actually is this to be a deterrent - and that's what happened elsewhere.

"The best resolution to anti-social behaviour is that it doesn't start in the first place, not that you're trying to tackle issues as they arise".

Irish Rail to trial body cameras for staff later this year

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However, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) has reacted angrily to the suggestion.

The union's general secretary Dermot O'Leary has labelled the proposal as 'insulting'.

Speaking on The Hard Shoulder, he claimed: "I've written to the CEO Irish Rail today, and I've told them that under no circumstances will our members be entertaining the notion of becoming a quasi police force - that's not going to happen.

"The issue out there is getting worse on a daily basis, and [then] this mad, bizarre notion that bodycams on customer service personnel effectively."

As part of efforts to confront anti-social behaviour, Irish Rail is also launching a text alert system this month for DART and commuter services.

This system will allow people to discreetly alert security to any ongoing assaults, thefts or other harassment on board trains.

Irish Rail last year said that, based on both staff and customer reports, incidents of anti-social behaviour on trains had been growing.

There have been 128 incidents of anti-social behaviour on the DART since the start of last year.

Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice

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