National rail operator NS has called for its security staff to be given more enforcement powers after reporting a surge in violent and aggressive incidents on trains.
Staff in trains and at stations reported 744 incidents of physical and verbal aggression last year, up by 12.5% from 661 in 2020. Some 186 NS workers were injured in confrontations with passengers, mostly over travelling without paying or being told to wear face masks.
Board member Eelco van Asch, who is responsible for security, said: ‘We see that some travellers have a shorter fuse during the pandemic, which fits in with a wider trend in society.’
NS says its 700 enforcement officers (BOAs) should be given wider powers to prevent incidents escalating, such as being able to verify the identity of people who are detained for breaking the rules on trains.
Spokeswoman Léonie Bosselaar told NOS that police were called in to deal with questions of identity 6,000 times in the last year. ‘Our colleagues sometimes have to wait half an hour with someone who’s been detailed. In that time things can escalate. We can prevent that by acting faster.’
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