There were 455 physical attacks last year against staff of Belgium’s national railway company, the SNCB, an increase of 11% from 2016, La Dernière Heure on Wednesday quoted Mobility Minister François Bellot as stating in response to a question in parliament. In 2017, a total of 1,165 attacks of all types, just over three per day, were reported. SNCB staff were subjected to 423 threats, 287 insults and 455 physical attacks – 266 cases of minor attacks and 189 of assault and battery.
Men were 64% of the victims and women 36%. The 455 physical attacks resulted in 2,117 sick days.
Train guards were the principal targets of attacks, with the main reason being discussions about tickets. However, the attacks have decreased sharply since 2011, partly due to an anti-attack master plan implemented by the SNCB. The number of cases went from 1,547 in 2011 to 1,363 in 2012, 1,276 in 2013, 1,271 in 2014, 1,252 in 2015 and 1,051 in 2017.
“Every attack is an attack too many,” said SNCB spokesperson Elisa Roux. “To avoid cases of violence, Securail [railway security] and police officers carry out additional preventive patrols. We strengthen our Securail patrols on a case-by-case basis, where they are most necessary, based on analyses.”