Connex seeks to cut assaults with own constables

operator Connex has trained a number of staff as special constables in a bid to
halve the number of assaults on its employees.

week, 15 Connex staff members started working as British Transport Police
special constables to increase uniform presence and improve staff and customer
safety on the Connex South Eastern line.

will release them on full pay for a minimum of 200 hours a year to carry out
their duties for the BTP. In return, the train operator will pay the staff an
extra £1,000 a year after tax.

company, which employs 3,000 staff, expects to have 50 employees working as
special constables by the end of this year and 100 by the end of 2003.

train operator is paying for the extra transport police officers needed to
accompany the special constables on their duties.

decided to train staff as constables after its commercial director, Glen
Charles, witnessed a staff member, who also worked as a special constable,
defuse a potential problem.

said: "It is quite harrowing for staff when they are assaulted. The
majority are verbal assaults, which lead to staff having days off to recover.
They can feel trapped if other people are not around. With the extra presence
of constables, staff should be more comfortable. Staff will have less time off
sick and spend more time at work."

and BTP hold two meetings a week to discuss any problems and negotiate staff
release for police duties.

are released from Connex duties for a month to complete the intensive training
course. The BTP’s HR team is solely responsible for the welfare of the Connex
special constables while they are in uniform. This includes insurance, travel
expenses, meal allowances, training, number of hours worked and counselling.

Deller, training manager for London south at the BTP, said: "Connex staff
know the issues, terminology and problems on the line, so it has been easier to
integrate them into the BTP."

Paul Nelson


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