‘Report a suspicious item or person’ urge rail campaigners in Luton

A display at the Passenger Security Awareness Event encouraging commuters not to ignore unattended bags.
A display at the Passenger Security Awareness Event encouraging commuters not to ignore unattended bags.

Luton train station hosted its first ‘Passenger Security Awareness Event’, as staff aimed to teach commuters one very important number: 61016.

A team from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) were at the station this morning (May 23), as they encouraged passengers to have the confidence to report an unattended item, a suspicious person, or a crime or incident on a train.

Tony Holland

Tony Holland

GTR are hoping to “embed a culture of natural security awareness” in passengers, and 61016 is the number commuters need to text in order to report an issue to the British Transport Police.

Tony Holland, crime and security manager for Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “A really key message is giving people the confidence to report things and pick up the phone - contact the police or speak to a member of staff.

“We’re urging people to keep their eyes open; look out for people who are acting suspiciously and if something doesn’t feel quite right, have the confidence to report it.

“Some of our customers have had stuff stolen for the wrong reasons and it’s usually down to complacency.

“People let their guard down. Passengers can fall asleep with their bag next to them or their phone on the table, and someone could come along and think ‘I’ll have that’.

“Put your arm round your bag, or if it’s on the luggage rack, always put it in front of you, never behind.”

A GTR team were at Luton train station from 7am this morning until just after peak-time finished with a stall to inform customers about the campaign.

The team included Adam Dear, rail enforcement manager, Mark Smith, on board service manager, Sara Turner, route manager, Vicky O’Reilly, Rail Enforcement Officer (REO) team leader, and Tony Holland, crime and security manager.

The group, and two REOs, were on hand to chat to passengers and hand out leaflets, as well as giving away clip on bells; these can be attached to a bag, alerting the owner if someone moves it.

Customers also had the chance to answer survey questions, such as ‘How safe do you feel when travelling?’ and ‘Have you ever been a victim of crime whilst commuting?’, the answers informing GTR’s Crime and Rail Strategy for next year.

One of GTR’s focusses for their new strategy (beginning this month) is ‘safeguarding and looking out for vulnerable people’, with training being given GTR staff.

Tony concluded: “We’re using all available mediums to create a culture of security awareness.

“We’re living in troubles times, with terrorism the way it is, and we can all contribute to making society a safer place.”

To report a crime, incident, or unwanted sexual behaviour, text the British Transport Police on 61016*.

The next ‘Passenger Security Awareness Event’ event will be at Luton Airport Parkway on November 22 from 5pm - 8pm. The team will be visiting stations up and down the country, finishing in December.

*In an emergency call 999.

*When texting 61016 your first text may incur a small charge depending on your network provider.