Despite plea from big boss and even higher aggression figures: no bodycams for NMBS employees

Despite plea from big boss and even higher aggression figures: no bodycams for NMBS employees
Despite plea from big boss and even higher aggression figures: no bodycams for NMBS employees
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Every day, six NMBS employees become victims of aggression. Not only does this cause a lot of human misery, but also a lot of delays. The NMBS hoped to tackle the problem with body cameras, but that plan runs into legal objections.

A mind-blowing figure: last year, the railway company NMBS recorded just under 2,300 cases of aggression towards railway staff. Once again that is an increase. There are now an average of six incidents per day, ranging from serious insults and threats to assault and battery.

READ ALSO. NMBS urgently requests body cameras for train guards due to increasing aggression

The train conductors, who check passengers for valid tickets, are particularly affected. This is evident from figures that N-VA MP Tomas Roggeman requested from federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo). Train conductors account for half of all cases of aggression. But officers of Securail, the internal security service of the NMBS, also have to deal with serious aggression twice a day on average.

“Year after year the figures are getting worse, without decisive action being taken,” says Roggeman. “This is culpable negligence on the part of the competent minister Gilkinet and Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V).”

“Year after year the figures are getting worse, without decisive action being taken”

Tomas Roggeman

N-VA Member of Parliament

The boss of the NMBS, Sophie Dutordoir, recently said during a hearing in Parliament that she was deeply shocked by the increasing number of cases of aggression to which her employees are victims. At the same time, she emphasized that these cases of aggression cause a lot of delays on the track. Consider train conductors who cannot continue working after an incident of aggression, after which a fellow train conductor has to be called in.

READ ALSO. Tiktok phenomenon ‘Good boy’ arrested after punching train conductor because he violated conditions

The NMBS wants Securail officers to get body cameras, but that does not seem to be an option right away.

The NMBS wants Securail officers to get body cameras, but that does not seem to be an option right away. — © BELGA

Dutordoir almost begged the government to at least be allowed to equip the Securail security officers – the number of officers was recently significantly increased – with body cameras. The fact that aggressive people are filmed would calm them down more quickly. Moreover, the NMBS also hopes to have more people running amok effectively convicted through the images.

READ ALSO. Serious case of aggression: young women beat up and kick train conductors

But those body cameras for Securail agents do not seem realistic in the short term, according to the government. The Data Protection Authority, among others, has serious objections. The institution previously also gave negative advice for body cameras for firefighters and ambulance personnel. They too are increasingly confronted with aggression.

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