Transport Industry Called to Stand Against Hate 

Transport Planning Society (TPS) calls on industry to “be better allies” in the stand against hate crime. 

At a virtual panel debate, convened by TPS with support from the British Transport Police, Transport for London and Women in Transport Laura Putt, vice-chair of the Transport Planning Society said: 

“The transport sector as a whole needs to be a better ally against hate, from an individual level up to an organisational level - there’s more we can be doing to make sure people feel welcome and safe whilst travelling on public transport.” 

Speakers described the damaging effect hate crime has on victims and entire communities’ as well as the way it excludes people from public spaces and public transport simply for who they are. 

Lisa Garrett, Superintendent at the British Transport Police, said: 

“Whatever race, gender or religion you are, you should be able to get on any carriage on any train or any bus, you need to feel safe on public transport.” 

They also discussed actions the transport industry can take to help eradicate the problem, highlighting Transport for London’s current ‘Hands Up’ campaign and also singled out Scotland’s Hate Crime Charter for Public Transport. 

Speakers encouraged reporting incidents to the police to help build a better picture of the extent of hate crime as a first step. 

They outlined the steps they are taking to build public confidence in reporting. 

Superintendent Garret continued, “We are identifying what the barriers are to reporting as we do feel hate crimes are often underreported.” 

Tim Herbert, who works in TfL’s Community Policing and On Street Operations, added: 

“We need to give people the confidence that if they report an incident, it will be taken seriously. 

“Our training stresses that you get one opportunity to give a witness or victim confidence and be empathetic that their reporting will be taken seriously." 

Herbert also stressed how TfL’s ‘Hands Up’ campaign was designed to create a sense of inclusion, while isolating would-be perpetrators. 

“Through the imagery, the campaign is trying to create a sense of unity among Londoners,” he said. “The message is if you don’t stand against hate crime you are the outlier.” 

The speakers roundly dismissed the idea of same-sex carriages. Garett said: 

“After working with some academics to properly understand the effectiveness of all female carriages, we found that it can actually become a target rather than a safe space.” 

Jo Field, President of Women in Transport, added: 

“Women only carriages assume that it is women or victims that have to change their behaviour rather than attempting to change the behaviour of the perpetrator. 

These comments came in response to a question about women only carriages.  

Field also encouraged the industry to make sure those who experience hate inform the design of measures and campaigns to ensure it becomes eradicated: 

“Operators, the police and industry need to be listening to victims’ voices in the design of their campaigns and solutions to stamp it out” 

Reflecting on Transport for London’s ‘Hands Up’ campaign, the panellists agreed that action is most powerful when it is done together as an industry. 

The discussion will inform a report for TPS. 

The event was supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for hate crime. Sarah Owen MP, Chair of the APPG for hate crime, said: 

“It’s bleakly apparent that hate crime is on the rise in Britain. It’s crucial that we stand together against hate, and we welcome the industry and TPS’s efforts to help in our mission to eradicate hate crime.” 

Mark Frost, Chair of TPS, said: 

“This discussion was a vital starting point in our Transport Planning Day campaign. This year we wanted to focus on how we, as transport planners, can create more inclusive places, organisations and transport systems as well as identify what we can do as individuals outside of our profession. 

“It’s clear there’s more we can all be doing whether that’s standing up to hate when we see it, to designing and adapting infrastructure, building confidence in the reporting process and ensuring safety at all points on the network.” 

The panel discussion, on 4th November, was part of TPS’s Transport Planning Day campaign which culminates with Transport Planning Day on 15 November. 

To report a hate crime on the British transport network you can speak to a member of staff, call 101, or text what happened, where and when to 61016. You can also report hate crime online. 


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