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'A volatile and dangerous situation': Passengers file complaints about security staff on the Luas

Earlier this year, footage emerged of altercations involving passengers and Luas security staff.

STT Risk management is contracted to provide security on the Luas.
STT Risk management is contracted to provide security on the Luas.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A NUMBER OF complaints about Luas security have been lodged with Transport Infrastructure Ireland, new documents have shown. 

The complaints come as questions were raised about tactics used by Luas security following video footage posted on social media in recent months which showed passengers being physically restrained at Luas stations. 

Several passengers lodged complaints in relation to the actions of security officers while others reported a lack of visibility of some security working on the lines.

In the complaints submitted to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the state agency responsible for overseeing the light rail network which runs through parts of Dublin, passengers reported feeling ‘upset and shaken’ and being ‘denied a safe and comfortable journey’.

Documents released to TheJournal.ie under the Freedom of Information Act show some passengers felt officers did not take appropriate action to tackle incidences of anti-social behaviour.

Others alleged some security officers employed by STT Risk Management, the company which provides security to Luas operator Transdev, had physically assaulted them and other passengers.

A complaint submitted by one passenger in January claimed they witnessed one officer “assaulting and restraining a member of the public at [the] Heuston Luas Stop”.

“Earlier, I witnessed this Luas security staff member interacting with the man, provoking him and insisting he move away from the platform,” they said. 

“The next thing the man was on the ground with the Luas security staff member holding him down and restraining him. At this point, I intervened and told the Luas security staff member to stop, that this was assault and was illegal.”

They added that the officer tried to confiscate their phone when they took a photo of the altercation and that they subsequently filed a complaint to gardaí at Kevin Street Garda Station.

Restraint

Earlier this year, multiple videos emerged across social media which showed staff physically restraining passengers on the ground.

In one case, two officers are seen physically restraining a man on the ground while the man can be heard telling them he can’t breath. 

Another video posted on social media shows an altercation between two uniformed Luas staff members and a young man. 

The man is then pulled to the ground and restrained by both staff members at the side of the platform. 

At the time, a spokesperson for Transdev said it was investigating the incidents.

0186 Dublin scenes The Luas travels across Dublin city with two lines - the red line and the green line - serving different areas. Source: RollingNews.ie

In another complaint from July, a passenger said they witnessed “drunk people who caused a nuisance on board the tram by shouting and roaring, stripping off clothing and at one stage throwing glass bottles”.

They claimed: “Security were on board at the time and witnessed the drunken group in the early stages but decided to do nothing and exited the tram at the next stop leaving the paying customer including children in a volatile and dangerous situation and being denied a safe and comfortable journey.”

In response to that complaint, a Luas customer care manager said they investigated the incident and reviewed CCTV footage. They told the passenger their “account of the incident and the response by STT differ slightly in detail”.

“STT felt that removing them from the Luas was not required on this occasion,” they said before listing a number of measures Transdev was taking to combat anti-social behavior, including engagements with gardaí and local community groups.

Last month, a passenger wrote to Minister Shane Ross as well as Transdev, which was forwarded to TII.

It concerned the visibility of security officers in relation to an incident which led to coffee being poured over a number of passengers. The passenger also claimed the tram was “overcrowded” and said they were left feeling “very upset and shaken”.

“I got on the Luas today at Connolly Station at 4.15pm, by the time it left [the] Jervis stop it was severely overcrowded,” they said.

They reported getting on at Connolly Station, the tram being overcrowded by the time it travelled through a few stops, and the actions of “a few undesirables” who boarded at the Luas stop and began hurling abuse at a passenger.

“We all got it [and] left the Luas all covered in coffee,” they said, adding it was “totally unacceptable as regards overcrowding, you need to regulate it and also we had to wait four stops until security [were] on hand.”

In total, less than 10 complaints were submitted relating to security on the Luas, a small number of which were referred directly to the security company involved. 

Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said he has been contacted by constituents in relation to a lack of security officers and suggested the operator, Transdev, should increase the security presence, particularly late at night. 

“I usually hear of the lack of security, or none around the trams at certain times,” he said. 

“I have reported a number of issues late at night, of groups hanging around, we see a lot of incidents where the Luas is used as a thoroughfare or getaway, and groups on the Luas causing a fuss,” he added. 

“So I have had representations about inconsistencies in relation to security.”

Asked how Transdev responds to these types of complaints, a spokesperson said: “When a complaint or query is received, we investigate with the relevant department and get back to the customer within 24 hours.

“And for more detailed queries that require a longer investigation we inform the customer that it will take longer and then we work to close out the complaint within 7 working days.”

Director of STT Risk Managment, Harry Seymour said all complaints received are investigated within the same timeframes as outlined by Transdev. 

“We investigate all complaints and their validity with the relevant employee and line manager. We reply to all customers within 24 hours and where an investigation takes longer to undertake, we have up to seven working days to reply,” he said. 

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