A man has been sentenced by Westminster Magistrates Court to 12 weeks imprisonment following the physical assault of two Transport for London (TfL) Transport, Support and Enforcement Officers in September 2020, who had been deployed to deal with a passenger who was being aggressive towards customer service station staff.
Violence and aggression towards TfL staff is never acceptable and will not be tolerated. TfL, working with transport police, will always seek to bring offenders to justice using all available evidence such as CCTV and body worn camera footage. Footage from body worn cameras was successfully used to help secure a conviction in this case.
Agris Grisins was asked to leave Baker Street Tube station by four TfL Transport, Support and Enforcement Officers after being verbally abusive to three TfL customer service station staff. Grisins subsequently became aggressive and abusive towards the officers once outside the station, attempting to force his way through and physically assaulting officers with several kicks.
The strength of the body worn camera evidence and photographic evidence of the officers' injuries played a key role in the offender amending his plea to guilty on the day.
Grisins was subsequently found guilty of common assault of two TfL enforcement officers and has been sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment for each assault to run concurrently. When Grisins is released from prison, he will be on licence for a further 12 months.
4,500 body worn cameras for staff have been in operation across the TfL network since the end of 2020 to help reduce workplace violence. This conviction shows how the footage can be used effectively in prosecutions and the court was able to see for itself the professionalism TfL officers showed on the day, despite the aggression shown by the defendant. Body worn cameras have been shown to reduce the number of incidents of violence and aggression towards staff, as evidenced in a British Transport Police trial with Cambridge University, which saw a 47 per cent reduction in staff assaults.
Mandy McGregor, Head of Transport Policing and Community Safety at TfL, recently said:
"This behaviour towards our staff, who were just trying to do their jobs, is completely unacceptable and we're pleased to see that Grisins is facing the consequences of his actions. Everyone has the right to go about their day without fear or intimidation and we do not tolerate any form of physical or verbal abuse towards our staff or customers. Body worn video footage, like CCTV, continues to provide vital evidence to the police and serves as a powerful deterrent to those who intend on abusing our staff."
TfL funds around 3,000 police, police community support officers and TfL enforcement officers dedicated to policing the transport network in order to keep everyone safe. Activities include high visibility policing, covert patrols with plain clothed officers, targeted action against offenders and encouraging more people to report offences. TfL works closely with the police to prevent violence and aggression towards its staff, as well as ensuring that any assault on staff is fully investigated so that perpetrators are brought to justice as quickly as possible.
In 2020/21, there were 1,740 offences reported to the police, relating to violence and aggression against TfL employees and the employees of TfL's operators and contractors. Of these, nine per cent were physical assaults leading to an injury; 41 per cent were assaults without injury; 50 per cent were public order offences including verbal assaults and threatening behaviour.