Keeping passengers and staff safe on Scotland’s railways is our absolute priority. ScotRail has one of the largest closed-circuit television networks in the United Kingdom, with more than 6,000 cameras monitoring more than 350 stations. There are also help points on every platform that allow passengers and staff to connect to a customer information adviser, 24 hours a day.
The team speaks through the intercom and uses the CCTV cameras to view passengers and staff in the station. The team is trained to report any antisocial and threatening behaviour to British Transport Police, which is responsible for monitoring safety at our stations.
In recent months, there have been a number of deeply distressing and serious incidents at train stations in my constituency. In some of those incidents, people have lost their lives, which can be very upsetting for the community as a whole. Does the minister share my view that we need to do everything possible to assure the public that they can travel by train with confidence and enjoy the benefits of using Scotland’s environmentally friendly and publicly owned trains?
I whole-heartedly agree that passengers and staff should all feel safe to travel on the rail network without fear of antisocial behaviour. However, I must state that the railway in Scotland overall is a safe environment to travel in, notwithstanding some of Mr MacGregor’s points this afternoon. This was one of several topics that I raised with the chief constable of British Transport Police and the chief superintendent of British Transport Police Scotland when I met them recently. BTP has confirmed that patrols are being redirected and officers are being deployed to known hotspots to prevent antisocial behaviour and other associated crimes. It is also piloting joint patrols with ScotRail Trains to provide a travel safe team in those areas.
It is hoped that an extension of the travel safe teams’ abilities will be further provided and that that will increase the number available in terms of support.
That concludes portfolio questions. There will be a slight pause before we move to the next item of business and I encourage members who have just come into the chamber not to begin chatting as soon as they have done so.