Knife attacks and general assaults on Tube, bus and Docklands Light Railway staff are on the increase, official documents reveal.
Assaults on Transport for London employees have risen by nearly 25 per cent, from 505 to 628, in the past three years, while those involving a blade are up 84 per cent, from 19 to 35.
London Assembly Conservatives, who highlighted the figures, said the increases were “deeply concerning”.
It came as the RMT union today staged a demonstration outside TfL offices in Blackfriars Road as part of its campaign against workplace violence.
Keith Prince, the Tory transport spokesman on the Assembly, said that London’s “crime epidemic has spread underground, with our hard-working TfL staff increasingly becoming victims of heinous physical assault, including knife attacks”
Since 2016 there have been 1,745 recorded assaults on staff: 505 in the year ending November 2017; 612 over the next 12 months; and 628 in the year to November 2019.
The respective figures for assaults involving a knife or other blade were 19, 21 and 35 — a total of 75.
Mayor Sadiq Khan, in answer to a written question from the Tory opposition, said: “TfL work hard to serve the millions of customers who use the transport network every day and have the right to go about their work without fear or intimidation.”
He stated that assaults range “from pushing and shoving to more serious violence with injury. In 75 reports there is reference to a knife or bladed instrument being used, threatened or intimated in the assault”.
The Mayor added: “TfL takes all violence and aggression against their staff seriously and is working with the police to catch and prosecute offenders to ensure there are consequences for their actions.”
A spokesman for Mr Khan said: “The safety of staff is of paramount importance to TfL and the Mayor, who are working closely with the trade unions on new plans to protect staff.”
Mick Cash, leader of the RMT, which is TfL’s largest union, warned of industrial action if the workplace is not made safer.
He said: “Be under no illusions, RMT will take whatever action, including industrial action, to guarantee a safe working environment for our members and to protect their status and conditions against this background of violence.”