NS wants more power to act against aggression in trains, stations
Aggression at the stations and on the trains increased in the past year. NS wants the Ministry of Justice and Security to give its Safety & Service employees extra powers to better take action against the increasing aggression. This also has to do with the hardening of society, the rail operator said. It wants to sit down with involved parties, such as the police, to tackle the problem.
Last year, NS reported 744 incidents of aggression. In 2020, there were 661 reports, and in pre-coronavirus 2019 there were 679. NS has about 700 Safety & Service employees who have the same level of authority as a municipal enforcement officer. In total, they intervened over 3 million times in 2021. According to NS, that is considerably more than the 2.5 million times from a year earlier.
The number of incidents reported between passengers increased by 20 percent to 2,300. And more NS employees were confronted with some form of aggression. 186 of them were injured. The injuries were minor in 87 percent of the cases.
"We see that some of the travelers have a shorter fuse in times of corona, which fits with a trend that we see more widely in society," said responsible board member Eelco van Asch. In the course of the year, "some travelers were uncertain about the coronavirus measures, which sometimes led to discussions," he said.
In order to act more quickly, NS wants specially trained employees to be able to determine the identity of someone from now on. Currently, the police have to be called in to check an ID. "The sooner you know who you have in front of you, the less quickly a situation can get out of hand," said NS. It also wants its employees to be able to act across the border on the international Intercity between Amsterdam and Brussels.
Reporting by ANP.