Keeping you safe and secure on Scotland’s Railway

Train travel is safe but that doesn’t mean we take our customers’ safety for granted.

The safety and security of our customers and staff is ScotRail’s number one priority.

Our dedicated team work 24 hours a day to constantly monitor, communicate with and advise customers so that if they ever feel vulnerable, they know we’re there to provide assurance and assistance.

Staff working in our stations and on our trains take part in training exercises so that they can confidently and safely deal with a range of situations and circumstances. Over 50 ScotRail employees are qualified Mental Health First-Aiders, trained to identify and support any passengers or colleagues that may require assistance.

Please always speak to a member of staff or use a station information point if you ever feel anxious or unsafe when using the railway.

Below you can find out how we keep our passengers safe in various situations. Click on each of the headings for advice and information on the tools we have in place to keep you and your loved ones travelling with confidence.

ScotRail has one of the largest CCTV networks in the UK, with more than six thousand cameras monitoring over 350 stations.

Over the past few years, we’ve invested more than £2million in upgrading our CCTV network and providing our staff with body cameras. Our CCTV cameras can analyse movements of customers on the platform to determine if members of the public are in unsafe situations, allowing ScotRail’s CCTV monitoring team to alert station staff if necessary. These cameras look at all aspects of railway safety including passenger numbers and behavioural analytics, to monitoring carparks and bike racks.

More than 300 body-worn cameras have been distributed to ScotRail staff across the country to improve everyone’s journey. These cameras help deter anti-social or criminal behaviour and help gather vital evidence on the rare occasions when it does occur. We have found that disruptive passengers positively changed their behaviour when informed that they were being recorded, and in some cases left the train or station.

During the winter months, Scotland can get dark very early. This can make some people feel particularly vulnerable when travelling. We have a number of tools in place to help you feel safe and confident when you travel:

  • Help point on every platform
    A simple press of a button will connect to you a Customer Information Advisor 24 hours a day. This team will speak to you through the intercom and use CCTV cameras to keep an eye on you in the station. This team are trained to report anti-social and threatening behaviour to British Transport Police.
  • Oversight of unstaffed stations
    Our team are trained to use CCTV cameras at every unstaffed station to specifically look out for customers travelling alone. If we see anything that isn’t right, we’ll use the station announcement system to alert you.
  • A member of staff on every train. Sometimes even two.
    All of our trains have a Conductor or a Ticket Examiner who will regularly patrol the train. Sometimes there is also a Hospitality Assistant on board our longer distance trains. You can speak to them about any personal safety concerns you have.

View BTP advice

Whether it’s a planned solo trip or an unexpected journey, if a young person is travelling alone on a ScotRail service, we’ll take special steps to ensure their safety.

  • Confused about travel or caught up in disruption
    We have a help point at every station that your child can use to automatically connect to a Customer Information advisor 24 hours a day. This team will speak to your child and use CCTV cameras to keep an eye on them. They will offer advice and take steps like arranging a taxi home if there is bad disruption or your child is upset. The advisors will ask for your phone number to let you know the plan to get your child home safe.
  • At a station alone
    ScotRail’s next generation CCTV system can analyse movements of customers on the platform to determine if they are in unsafe situations, allowing our CCTV monitoring team to alert station staff. If there is a child alone at a station, who looks vulnerable, station staff would be alerted or the child would be spoken to through the help point on the platform.
  • No money to travel
    If your child finds themself stuck with no money, we have a process to get them home. We can issue a ‘ticket irregularity’. By taking a few details such as name, address and contact number we can let your child travel home and you pay for the ticket the next day

The British Transport Police has some good advice on their website for preparing children for travelling alone.

From time to time, some of our customers behave in a threatening or intimidating way which is completely unacceptable. ScotRail and British Transport Police do not tolerate this behaviour and deal with it in a number of ways. Here’s what we’re doing to protect our passengers from experiencing this:

  • Body-worn CCTV cameras
    Over 300 of these cameras are available for staff to wear and are clearly marked as CCTV cameras. These cameras improve the safety of customers and staff, deter antisocial behaviour, and gather evidence when it does occur. We have found that disruptive passengers positively changed their behaviour when informed that they were being recorded and in some cases left the train or station. Footage can be used in a number of ways to help prosecute these individuals.
  • Upgrade of onboard CCTV Cameras
    We have invested almost £10 million in upgrading CCTV cameras on board our trains. CCTV images can be remotely downloaded quickly and given to British Transport Police to carry out their investigation as quickly as possible.
  • British Transport Police 61016 text service
    You can discretely text the British Transport Police if you feel unsafe at a station or on board a train. The text number is monitored 24/7 and, while it is not for reporting emergencies, BTP will be able to send officers if required to assist you.
  • Emergency 999
    If you are experiencing an emergency, dial 999. Always dial 999 when you need an urgent police response such as:
    • A crime is happening
    • Someone suspected of a crime is nearby
    • Someone is injured, being threatened or in danger

Find out more about text 61016

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we want to do everything we can to support the public health measures put in place by the Scottish Government.

Therefore, from Monday 16 November 2020, alcohol cannot be consumed at any station in Scotland, or on any ScotRail train. Any person acting disorderly or showing specific signs of intoxication will not be permitted to travel.

Find out more about the alcohol ban here.

ScotRail station staff carry out up to 30 patrols and checks per day to pro-actively monitor the safety of a station.

If you see something suspicious while travelling on the ScotRail network, you should report it as soon as possible:

  • On train
    Find the Conductor or Ticket Examiner on board the train. They will be walking through the carriages regularly. If it is an emergency, call 999.
  • At a staffed station
    Find a member of staff on the platform or the ticket office.
  • At an unstaffed station
    Use the Help Point on the platform to report it or text British Transport Police on 61016. If it is an emergency, call 999.

Over the last few years, ScotRail has placed additional CCTV cameras at 200 stations to monitor cycle parking areas. Cyclists are one of the biggest groups to benefit from the recent £2 million investment in our station security.

Thanks to these additional cameras, ScotRail staff will be able to remotely monitor bike shelters and quickly report suspicious behaviour to police.

Advice on keeping your bicycle safe

There is always someone to contact if you feel unsafe when using the railway. This could be because of anti-social behaviour, something that doesn’t look right or someone acting suspiciously. If it doesn’t look or feel right, always tell someone. Below, you'll find all the details you need:

British Transport Police is the police service for Britain’s railways, providing a service to rail operators, their staff and passengers. Their mission is to protect and serve the railway environment and its community, keeping levels of disruption, crime and the fear of crime as low as possible.

When to contact the British Transport Police?

Text 61016* or call 0800 40 50 40 when:

  • you want to report an incident discreetly that has already happened
  • issues are affecting you at the station or on-board the train
  • you have a general police enquiry

The text number is monitored 24/7 and, while it’s not for reporting emergencies, British Transport Police will send officers if required.

*Your mobile service provider may issue a small charge to text 61016. The exact cost will depend on your network and tariff.

When to dial 999?

Always dial 999 when you need an urgent police response such as:

  • a crime is happening
  • someone suspected of a crime is nearby
  • someone is injured, being threatened or in danger

If your enquiry concerns buses or roads, and is not an emergency, you can contact local police anywhere in the country by dialling 101.

Everyone who uses Scotland’s Railway is being urged to report anything unusual either in person to a member of rail staff, or by texting or calling British Transport Police on 61016 or 0800 40 50 40.

Do not leave any personal belongings unattended at stations, on board trains and in car parks.

If you see someone behaving suspiciously or find anything unattended, inform a member of staff, the British Transport Police or contact us using one of the help points in our stations.

If you spot an item that looks unusual or out of place, please use the H.O.T Protocol:

1. Hidden items – have you discovered an item which appears to be hidden from view?

2. Obviously Suspicious – is the item unusual in appearance and out of place?

3. Typical – is the item typical of what you would expect in the location?

If you find or see a suspicious item, please report it to ScotRail staff immediately or call BTP on 0800 405 040.

If you notice someone who appears to be acting suspiciously, please use the W.H.A.T Process:

1. What are they doing?

2. How are they - calm, agitated?

3. Acting, are they alone or with others?

4. Threat, what type of threat is identified?

If you see suspicious or unusual behaviour, please report it to ScotRail staff immediately or call BTP on 0800 405 040.

If you suspect an imminent attack, you should follow the run, tell, hide guidance. The action you take will make a difference to the security and safety of all.

1. Run – put as much distance between you and the potential attack.

2. Hide – if running is not possible find a safe place to hide behind solid cover.

3. Tell – phone BTP on 0800 405 040 or call 999 as soon as possible.

For more information, please visit the UK government website here.