Plans prevent problems
Confirm train times and connections before travelling. If you still feel unsure, double check at an information point on arrival at the station.
Make sure at least one person knows when and where you are travelling, and your expected time of arrival. Carry a fully-charged mobile or money for a pay phone in case you need to contact them.
If you have a disability that restricts movement, check beforehand that each station can provide the required access and that a member of station staff will be available to help you if necessary.
When travelling in a group, pre-arrange a meeting point in case you get separated and supply everyone with the same contact telephone number for emergencies.
If you are being met by someone at the station, get precise directions as to where they will be waiting. Some stations have several entrances and car parks.
Avoid appearing vulnerable in any way. Look confident and certain of where you are going.
Whether waiting or walking, avoid poorly lit areas and try to stay in sight of closed circuit TV cameras or close to other people.
Don’t listen to personal stereos or radios while on the move. They restrict your hearing and prevent you from being aware of happenings around you.
Wherever possible, avoid openly carrying or using valuable items such as mobile phones, iPods etc.
Be wise to pickpockets. Keep purses and wallets close to your body and well out of sight. Wherever possible, carry bags in front of you and secure with your arm.
If you see an unattended bag or package, alert the station staff immediately. Keep your own belongings close to you at all times or you may alarm fellow passengers and seriously delay your journey.
When using car parks, try to choose a parking bay close to an exit, especially if you will be returning in the dark. If necessary, make a note of your car’s exact position so you won’t have to search on your return. Make sure it is securely locked and that all personal possessions are fully hidden or locked in the boot.
If you take a cab from the station, use only reputable taxi or mini cab companies. Do not accept lifts from strangers or anyone who may be operating an unlicensed taxi service.
On the train
When boarding the train, choose a carriage where you feel comfortable. Whenever possible, look for one with a good mix of people and a calm atmosphere.
If you do find yourself sitting somewhere that makes you feel nervous or vulnerable, move to another area. If necessary, tell a member of the train crew about your worriers and ask for help to find a new location.
Protect your privacy. Giving out personal details on a mobile phone or displaying them on a luggage label, document or laptop could alert potential thieves.
Keep checking stowed luggage, particularly at station stops. If you are carrying a handbag and feel you may fall asleep, keep one arm through the straps.
Note where the emergency alarm is located. Although it is unlikely you will have to use it, knowing where it is may help your peace of mind.
Children under 14 who travel by rail should be accompanied wherever possible. For those who have to make journeys alone, whether travelling to and fro school or to visit relatives, it is vital to take steps to ensure their protection.
Write down details of their route, train times and who will meet them at their destination.
If travelling alone, they, or the adult in charge, should seek out a member of the train crewe who can find them a safe place to sit and will check on them throughout the journey.
When travelling in a group, insist that they stick closely together until they meet up with a recognised, responsible adult.
Provide them with more than one emergency contact number and either a fully-charged mobile or a phone card so they can make and receive calls. Teach them to use a help point where available.
Stress that they must always follow these rules:
- Choose a carriage where there are as many people as possible.
- Do not talk to strangers; go to rail staff or police if they are in difficulties.
- Do not make too much noise; listen to announcements.
- Do not touch an unattended bag or package; report it.
- Do not run on the platform or stand too near its edge.
Over 630 British Transport Police patrol The London Underground Network, making the Tube a safe way of getting around.
However, pickpockets and thieves prefer to operate in crowds, so keep handbags held close to the body with the fastener towards you and always carry wallets in an inside jacket pocket, not a trouser pocket.
Conceal your mobile phone, especially when exiting a station. Using the vibrate facility rather than a ring tone will avoid attracting attention until you feel it’s safe to take calls.
If at any time you do feel insecure, most London Underground stations have Help Points with information and emergency buttons which connect you immediately to station staff. There are also emergency alarms in train carriages.
If travelling late at night, choosing the carriage nearest the driver may help boost your sense of security.
If you do see, or are involved in, an incident, get help. Shout to alert rail staff or ring the police (Freephone number below).
Don’t put yourself in danger – your first priority is to get to a place of safety and raise the alarm. Fighting back should be a very last resort.
If you do witness an incident, report it as soon as you can. Every little bit of information does help and vital time and evidence can be gained from prompt action.
British Transport Police.
Freephone: 0800 40 50 40
In an emergency phone 999
Crimestoppers 0800 555 111
British Transport Police 2006