Belfast Telegraph

Reward offered after female conductor is abused on Belfast train

By Stewart Robson

Translink have offered a £1,000 cash reward for anyone willing to give evidence in court after a female train conductor suffered appalling verbal and physical abuse on a Londonderry to Belfast service.

The incident happened on Saturday when the woman intervened after a group of male passengers became rowdy, the PSNI said.

She was grabbed by one of the males before being verbally abused by the same man.

Shortly before the group departed from the train at Mossley West station in Newtownabbey, the woman was subjected to more physical abuse by another member of the group when she was grabbed again, the PSNI said.

An investigation into the incident has begun, with the police analysing CCTV footage from on board the train.

The police have appealed for witnesses. A PSNI spokesman added: "The conductor was left extremely shaken and upset by the ordeal.

"It is appalling that a woman was subjected to such attacks while simply doing her job."

The incident has garnered widespread condemnation.

DUP councillor Stephen Ross described the attack as "shocking" and said this should never happen to staff for simply carrying out their duties.

"It's disgraceful that anybody thinks this is acceptable in today's environment," he commented. "You wouldn't be happy if this was your mother, sister or your wife. Hopefully CCTV footage from the train will be published by Translink or the PSNI so that the public can try to identify these individuals and bring them to justice."

A spokesperson for Translink said: "We thoroughly condemn all instances of anti-social behaviour and have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to anyone that physically or verbally abuses our staff or customers.

"Our staff have a right to work without encountering such appalling and unacceptable behaviour. We will be working with the PSNI to fully investigate this incident, using CCTV to assist in identifying perpetrators and to support any prosecution process."

Translink added that the staff member is being offered "appropriate" support.

Unite union officer Davy Thompson said Translink must provide "more support and greater security" for all frontline staff. "Like every worker, those employed to provide public transport services have a legitimate expectation that when they go to work they will not be subjected to physical or sexual harassment," Mr Thompson commented. "Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

"The worker who was at the receiving end of this humiliating and violating treatment by these drunken thugs has been very badly shaken by the experience. She is providing the PSNI with a statement on the incident.

"The full weight of the law must come down on those responsible as a discouragement to others who think that this sort of behaviour is acceptable."

The PSNI has asked witnesses to call the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number 1384 14/04/18.

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