Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Nuray Bulbul

South Western Railway launches campaign to illuminate impact of verbal abuse

A fresh campaign has been initiated by South Western Railway (SWR) to draw attention to the negative consequences of mistreatment aimed at its frontline employees.

These include verbal and physical assaults as well as insults and profanity. According to recently released figures, nine out of 10 employees of Network Rail in its southern region, which encompasses the SWR network, have experienced verbal and physical harassment.

Even though these verbal attacks may be viewed as "low-level" in comparison to more severe attacks, the effects on workers can nevertheless be profound and long-lasting, negatively impacting their mental health and general wellbeing.

By asking consumers to think about the long-term effects of comments spoken in haste, typically out of piqued anger, the ad seeks to lessen the amount of harmful verbal abuse that workers endure.

Digital posters illustrating four instances of careless mistreatment have been put up around the SWR network to spread this message.

The posters illustrate how the abuse persists in the thoughts of workers even when they are at home, by using examples of abusive language on commonplace domestic goods like a doormat, shower gel, kettle, and soup can.

(South Western Railway)

(South Western Railway)

The campaign encourages travellers to be kind and is based on talks with such workers who recounted their stories of abuse. Colleagues are receiving "Be Kind" badges to help spread the word.The ad will be notably noticeable on the network at specific times of the week and at specific events, particularly when there is a larger likelihood of alcohol consumption among travellers – a correlation that often corresponds with higher levels of abuse directed towards train workers.

SWR has also been gradually distributing body-worn video cameras to frontline workers since 2021 in an effort to help prevent abuse and aid in the collection of evidence. They are currently accessible to all SWR guards, and gateline workers should be able to access them in the spring.

According to a newly released study by the University of Cambridge, body-worn video cameras can lower the risk of attack against the wearer by 47 per cent. The study was commissioned by the British Transport Police (BTP) and the Rail Delivery Group.

Grant Robey, senior network crime and security manager for South Western Railway, said: “We hope this campaign will bring the human impact of thoughtless abuse to the front of our customers’ minds and remind them to be kind to our colleagues, even when things go wrong on their journeys.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.