Our priority has been to ensure we support key workers who are relying on us to get them to work safely, but we are also keeping an eye on the vulnerable people on our network. We are rolling out awareness training to all our frontline staff so we can better support those who need help accessing the network and people who might need specialist help and support.
As well as providing additional training to our teams, we have been making use of our CCTV hub manned by volunteers to spot people who are most at risk on our networks. We are looking out for and offering support to anyone on the network who might be at risk of suicide as part of our ongoing commitment to Zero Harm. We are able to monitor over 1300 sites per week and there were 11 occasions in the first six weeks where a vulnerable person was identified as being in need of assistance and help was given.
Brighton-based passenger host Dan Moon, who has worked on the railway for 13 years, is among those to volunteer. The 40-year-old, who lives in Brighton, said: “There are a lot of vulnerable people out there at the moment and we’re the eyes to spot them. You might not see anything for five days and then there may be one day when you spot someone who is vulnerable and get help to them, possibly saving that person’s life.”
Fellow CCTV volunteer Colin Latimer has been spending five days a week helping at the satellite suite. The Brighton-based fraud control officer said being able to put his time to good use had helped his own mental health. The 55-year-old, who has worked on the railway for 19 years and lives at Three Bridges, said: “It has saved my sanity. I have suffered with mental health issues in the past and being involved in this has helped. I feel as though I’m doing something worthwhile and productive. It’s vital to have people looking out for the vulnerable; we may pick up something that no-one else has.”
With children and young people out of school, we have also been ensuring teachers and parents have information on railway risks and trespassing. We are reaching out to Secondary Schools with the RSSB’s industry guidance supported by Network Rail and the British Transport Police.
Our staff are trained to look out for and offer support to people who may be considered vulnerable. In the ten years since the partnership between Network Rail and Samaritans was established, 20,000 rail industry staff have received suicide prevention training and since the BTP began keeping records (April 2013) over 8,000 life-saving interventions have been carried out across the network by rail staff, BTP, local police and members of the public. This equates to six lives being saved for every one that is lost.
Our commitment to preventing suicides is a multi-agency, intelligence led approach coordinated under our strategy which involves all our staff including our many Revenue Enforcement Officers who patrol our network together with the British Transport Police, security teams, Rail Pastors and Welfare Officers at key locations. This has resulted in a 57% increase in lifesaving interventions since last year across GTR’s rail network.
For those members of the public who have unfortunately witnessed a suicide on our network we provide strong support in partnership with the Samaritans. For our employees we offer additional support in the form of TRiM (Trauma Risk Management) support, Occupational Health, Care first (our online confidential health and wellbeing resource) and our Railway Chaplains.
Finally we celebrate our lifesavers with an award lunch hosted by our Senior Executive team to recognize the amazing efforts each one of them have gone to in order to save a life.