Government proposals to give rail staff powers to issue fixed-penalty notices for a variety of offences have been condemned as 'policing on the cheap'.
The proposals, announced in a consultation paper from the Department for Transport, would give staff powers to issue fines for offences such as dropping litter, trespass on railway lines or allowing a dog to foul a platform.
However, unions say this will lead to an even greater number of assaults on workers.
Last year, there was a 34 per cent increase in the number of attacks on rail staff.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said it seemed the Government had recognised the need for more policing on the railways, but placing the burden onto already overstretched railway staff was not the answer.
"There are far too many assaults on our members already without putting them in situations where they are likely to experience even more," he said.