New body-worn cameras have been issued to staff on the Tyne and Wear Metro and local bus stations to deter troublemakers and provide extra reassurance to passengers as lockdown eases.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has invested in 100 extra lapel-worn cameras, which were first introduced in 2018, bringing the total number in use to 150.
This ensures that every customer service advisor has one when they are on duty across the Metro and bus network.
The tiny CCTV cameras provide an extra tool to deal with incidents of anti-social behaviour. They record high-resolution footage that can be used as evidence to support police investigations.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of Nexus completing a £4.2m project to install 740 new CCTV cameras across the 60 stations on Metro.
Metro Operations Director, John Alexander, said: “We have invested in more body cameras so that every single customer service advisor will wear one while they are on duty on Metro and bus interchanges. Safety and security is our top priority.
“Body cameras help to deter bad behaviour on our network and give reassurance to law abiding customers as they return to public transport after lockdown.
“CCTV makes people think twice about challenging members of staff who are just doing their jobs. The footage can be passed to the police for them to use as evidence. The images are captured digitally, so it’s very high quality.
“Overall crime rates on the bus and Metro network remain low, but we remain focused on issues of anti-social behaviour and ticketless travel. The body-worn cameras provide our staff with a new tool for managing these issues."
Nexus first introduced body cameras in 2017 as part of a trial. They were then made permanent the following year, and the roll out of the technology has been ramped up to all frontline customer service workers, instead of one camera per team.
Each one is clearly marked on uniforms to let people know that they are being filmed and staff can activate the recordings at the touch of a button.
The footage can be accessed by Northumbria Police and the British Transport Police to support prosecutions.
Nexus staff will only turn cameras on when doing so could help prevent, or document, and incident that may require a subsequent investigation. A red light will be visible on the front of the device when it is recording.