ATP Template with bundler

Railways and public transport


When travelling on public transport, the companies themselves issue a lot of advice particularly in the stations or on the buses and trains themselves. However, it is worth bearing in mind the following general advice when travelling:

  • Always sit downstairs on a bus, as near to the driver as possible.
  • On a train try not to sit in an empty compartment.
  • Make sure you keep hold of all personal belongings.
  • If something or someone is bothering you, inform the guard or driver, they can stay with you if you feel uncomfortable 
  • Try and have your fare ready so you don't have to get out your purse/wallet.

In relation to general personal safety try and remember the following suggestions:

  • Try not to walk alone late at night and where possible choose well-lit main roads and walk confidently.
  • If someone does grab your bag fighting back is not always a good idea, you do not know if your attacker has a weapon.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Reading or listening to music can be distracting.
  • In a busy public place, try to use your mobile phone only in an emergency as it is advertising the fact that you have a phone. Whilst using your mobile phone you may be distracted, making it easier to take it from you.
  • If you are attacked it is often better to shout 'fire' rather than 'help', it tends to attract more attention.


British Transport Police's (BTP) officers are recruited and trained in the same way as local police officers. They have all the same powers as a Constable. BTP's responsibility is for the railways, including some tram systems and jurisdiction is usually defined as 'on the railways (including tram systems) or for any purpose to do with the railways'. For instance, officers might arrest a robbery suspect or carry out a house search - then they have jurisdiction anywhere.

If it is not a railway related matter – for instance, if they come across a robbery in the street, then the following applies;

BTP officers have the powers and privileges of a Constable beyond their normal jurisdiction in three specific circumstances:

  • When asked for assistance by a Constable from local police, Ministry of Defence Police or the Civil Nuclear Constabulary;
  • If they believe that someone has committed, is committing or is about to commit an offence, and waiting for a local officer would frustrate the interests of justice;
  • To save life or prevent injury.

In such circumstances, where their assistance has not been requested by the local force, the officer will need to decide whether their immediate intervention is necessary.


British Transport Police (BTP), unlike other police forces, does not report through the Home Secretary or Scottish Executive, but through the Secretary of State for Transport. However, BTP is fully integrated into the national policing structure and takes account of nationally set priorities when formulating its own Strategic Plan and annual Policing Plans.

The Chief Constable is responsible for the operations and administration of BTP and he/she reports to a Police Authority, whose members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport. The Authority has duties to:

  • Ensure efficient and effective policing of the railways;
  • Secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police service;
  • Establish a police fund and set a budget.
For more information see the British Transport Police Authority website.


British Transport Police is the national police force for the railways providing a policing service to rail operators, their staff and passengers throughout England, Wales and Scotland.

The Force is also responsible for policing the National Rail network across England, Scotland and Wales, the London Underground system, Docklands Light Railway, the Glasgow Subway, the Midland Metro tram system and Croydon Tramlink. BTP also police international services operated by Eurostar.

For further information see website in related information.


As an individual, you are extremely unlikely to be caught up in a terrorist attack on the railways, the general risk to the UK from international terrorism is 'SUBSTANTIAL', and that means that an attack is ' likely'.

British Transport Police works closely with the rail industry, Government and counter terrorism agencies to protect the rail infrastructure from attack. Your help is also vital, see the websites in Related Information for more details .


For contact details of British Transport Police Stations in your area, please see the website in Related Information.


There are currently two ways to report crime on the railways -

  • Non-urgent crime: 0800 40 50 40
  • Emergency: 999

For general information on what the police class as an emergency see Q484.


Trespass may not sound like a serious offence, but in the unforgiving environment of the railway, it can be a major safety hazard. Trespassers put themselves, rail staff and passengers in danger.

If the children are currently on the tracks or elsewhere where they may be placing themselves or rail passengers in danger you should call 999 immediately.

For non-emergency incidents you should call 0800 40 50 40 and report the location of the incident so that British Transport Police can investigate .


Railway car parks are within the jurisdiction of the British Transport Police. If your car has been stolen from a railway car park, call their non-urgent crime reporting line on 0800 40 50 40 unless you have reason to consider the situation an emergency in which case call 999. For general information on what the police class as an emergency see Q484, and for advice on what to do when your vehicle is stolen see Q620.


Route crime is people putting obstructions in front of trains, trespassing and vandalising the railway infrastructure.

Acts of vandalism such as placing obstructions on the track can lead to very serious incidents including; damage, injury, or catastrophic derailment with the potential for multiple passenger fatalities.

Trespassing may not sound serious but, in the unforgiving environment of the railway, it can be a major safety hazard. Trespassers put themselves, rail staff and passengers, in danger.

See websites in Related Information for more details.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

If you can't find the answer?

Submit A Question