The number of incidents of aggression towards the staff of Belgium’s national railway company increased in 2018, Federal Minister of Mobility François Bellot confirmed on Friday.
In total, there were 1,250 recorded incidents of aggression towards SNCB staff, marking a 7.3% increase on previous figures.
Aggression towards SNCB staff working onboard trains was most prevalent, followed by sales and operations staff, and lastly, security employees.
Out of the total reports, 504 were related to threats and 297 to insults made against the rail company’s staff, according to reports by Het Laatste Nieuws.
Of the total incidents, 160 involved physical aggression which resulted in injury, and there were 289 instances of “minor acts of violence.”
In comparison to 2017 figures, the number of incidents of physical aggression resulting in injury decreased by 15.3%, but the number of minor acts of violence rose by 8.6%, as did the number of threats (19.1%) and insults (3.5%).
In 2018, the SNCB launched a campaign on social media to counter the rise of aggression against its staff, under the hashtag: #StopAgressieNMBS.
More preventive patrols were deployed by the company’s security branch, which also trained its staff to better respond to conflict situations.
The national railway company has also recently introduced a security measure in which all of the doors in a train are shut immediately after the departure sign is given.
Previously, a single door remained open after the departure signal and was only shut once the train started moving.