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Hi there, i need some advice, in November last year I had a horrible experience at a train station. I was standing on the platform talking on my phone, when 3 Rail enforcement officers came up and asked me for my ticket, which I showed them, they then walked away. 2 minutes later, they came and asked to see it again, again I showed them it, and they walked off. About 30 seconds later, they came back again, and told me I had to leave the station immediately because I had walked past a sign that said "no passengers beyond this point" (I had not by the way!) I just said "whatever" and started to walk towards the exit, when one of the officers roughly grabbed hold of my arm and said "hold on, you're not going anywhere" and then proceeded to tell me he was going to write me a penalty notice for trespassing. I again tried to leave and another of the officers pushed me in the chest and told me I couldn't leave.

 

Frightened, I dialed 999 and spoke to the police who told me that REO have no power or right to detain me, I asked the woman at 999 to speak to the REO and she did (they were very polite and compliant on the phone) and then when the call was done they still said I couldn't leave and the phoned the transport police for backup.

 

When the transport police turned up (there are now a total of 5 officers "dealing" with me) the REO story suddenly changed and rather than just walking past asign, I had now vaulted over the yellow barrier at the end of the platform and started to head for the track!

 

I was incensed and demanded they look at the CCTV whih the Transport Police did, andtold me that it was obvious that I hadn't jumped over anything, but that I still had to accept the penalty notice and that I could just appeal it.

 

The REO then cautioned me, and got me to sign penalty notice which was headed "British Trasport Police" I have subsequently found out from talking to the Chief Superintendant of the Transport Police that REO have no right to caution nor should they be carrying notebooks with "Transport Police" written on them, and in his view, the REO were impersonating police officers!

 

Now, southeastern trains have been amazingly unhelpful, doing nothing more than sending me standard apology letters that have no relevance to my case, so I got into contact with passenger focus who advised me to request compensation from southeastern.

 

What I was wondering is, how do I phrase a compensation request? Do I ask for a specific figure, if so what would be an appropriate sum? Or do I just ask for compensation and see what they offer? Any advice would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks

 

Unholy

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I'm sorry if this sounds unhelpful, but for what any advice I can give is worth, I strongly suggest that you promptly seek the qualified advice of a solicitor.

 

I am not saying that your story is not entirely truthful and I realise that you have not named anyone or anywhere in particular, but you have made a number of otherwise fairly detailed accusations. I very much doubt that anyone would comment on the action without being able to ascertain evidence of all these facts for themselves and I don't believe that you would expect that either?

 

I am very surprised that any BTP Chief Suprintendant should give such advice because it appears to be clearly lacking in knowledge of rail staff powers, particularly in with regard to P.A.C.E. codes and their application by R.P.Is & R.E.Os involved in enforcing Railway Byelaws and other relevent legislation.

 

However, if all of your description is on record just as you have explained, then I am sure that a good Solicitor will be only too happy to take up this matter on your behalf.

 

Good luck

Edited by Old-CodJA
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I am not saying that your story is not entirely truthful and I realise that you have not named anyone or anywhere in particular, but you have made a number of otherwise fairly detailed accusations. I very much doubt that anyone would comment on the action without being able to ascertain evidence of all these facts for themselves and I don't believe that you would expect that either?

 

What do you mean "not entirely truthful"? and as for evidence, all of this incident is on the CCTV,however, the transport police say that I have to get the CCTV from southeastern, and southeastern say I get it from the transport police! And whilst I haven't named anyone in particular on this forum,,I do have the staff numbers of all 3 REOs who were involved.

 

I am very surprised that any BTP Chief Suprintendant should give such advice because it appears to be clearly lacking in knowledge of rail staff powers, particularly in with regard to P.A.C.E. codes and their application by R.P.Is & R.E.Os involved in enforcing Railway Byelaws and other relevent legislation.

 

Could you please explain this, as I was not only informed that the REOs were working beyond their power by the Chief superintendant but also by 3 members of staff at southeastern and 2 members of staff at Passenger focus. It seems unanimous on all fronts that the REOs broke the law.

 

Thanks

 

Unholy

Edited by Unholymess
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July 4th 2008

 

In a 'first' for improved security on Britain's railways, British Transport Police (BTP) and Southeastern's Railway Enforcement Officers (REOs) can now contact one another immediately should the need arise, thanks to shared access to the police radio network.

 

BTP is responsible for policing the railways, and Southeastern's REOs are trained and accredited by BTP to carry out high-profile patrols, to deter and deal with fare evasion and anti-social behaviour on trains and stations, and to provide a reassuring presence for passengers.

 

Radio-link-press-release-1.jpgThere are now 60 REOs deployed across the Southeastern network, and since they were introduced in November 2005 they have boosted security and helped to cut crime by working closely with BTP officers.

 

 

You will see from the press release above REOs 'are accredited by BTP' 'to deal with fare evasion'.

 

If you read the job description to apply for the post (also available online) it states that REOs are required to undertake minor criminal investigations and take statements.

 

In order to do so, they will have to observe the requirements of The Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

 

This requires that immediately any 'investigating officer' (and that could also be a railway revenue protection inspector, DWP staff, TV licence inspector, RSPCA inspector etc...) suspects that an offence may have been committed he (or she) must caution the person suspected of that offence.

 

Now, I'm not saying it's right because I personally believe there should be more Police & Rail Revenue Protection Inspectors, but see the photograph that goes with the press release.

 

It just seems a little odd that anyone should be concerned that these people are 'impersonating police officers' when the BTP accredit them and give them a uniform doesn't it?

Edited by Old-CodJA
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Indeed, because according to southeastern, the REO are sub-contracted from a security firm! This was separately confirmed by the BTP without any prompting from me! According to the chief superintendant, some REOs are sanctioned by BTP, but not the ones that southeastern use. And both southeastern and BTP offered to me the suggestion that it was impersonation! Very strange. That press report certainly contradiccts that! The fare evasion part is irrelevant though because I had a valid ticket to travel, it was me supposedly vaulting over a barrier that I got the ticket for! However, whatever authority they do or don't have, they still laid hands upon me without consent or warning, which is assault, and detained me, which the actual police told them and me, they could not do. Not quite sure, but that's damn near kidnapping in the eyes of the law!

 

Another point about their conduct, they took my statement before cautioning me, and refused to let me see it to verify what they were writing. A friend of mine who's an ex-policeman said that the statement is inadmissable because of this. It just shows the complete lack of training going on at southeastern.

 

Is there any mileage in asking for compensation before i involve (and pay) a solicitor? If so, what kind of figure is appropriate to ask for?

 

Cheers

 

Unholy

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Indeed, because according to southeastern, the REO are sub-contracted from a security firm! This was separately confirmed by the BTP without any prompting from me! According to the chief superintendant, some REOs are sanctioned by BTP, but not the ones that southeastern use. And both southeastern and BTP offered to me the suggestion that it was impersonation! Very strange. That press report certainly contradiccts that! The fare evasion part is irrelevant though because I had a valid ticket to travel, it was me supposedly vaulting over a barrier that I got the ticket for! However, whatever authority they do or don't have, they still laid hands upon me without consent or warning, which is assault, and detained me, which the actual police told them and me, they could not do. Not quite sure, but that's damn near kidnapping in the eyes of the law!

 

Another point about their conduct, they took my statement before cautioning me, and refused to let me see it to verify what they were writing. A friend of mine who's an ex-policeman said that the statement is inadmissable because of this. It just shows the complete lack of training going on at southeastern.

 

Is there any mileage in asking for compensation before i involve (and pay) a solicitor? If so, what kind of figure is appropriate to ask for?

 

Cheers

 

Unholy

 

I hope this doesn't offend, but I am often quite un-nerved by just how hopelessly wrong the Police sometimes get it too.

 

Questioning before cautioning, known as 'a pre-caution interview', will often give cause to suspect an offence and once that suspicion is established, then the caution must be given.

 

I would seek the qualified professional advice of a Solicitor. After all, if you win the case, you can apply for your Solicitors costs too and it is quite possible that if your case is strong, a good Solicitor will negotiate a settlement far above what you could achieve for yourself.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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I'm confused why you were willing to leave the station as you must have been intending to travel if you had a valid ticket. Personally I think I'd have just refused. There must have been doubt that it was valid for it to be examined so many times. Was it a Penalty Fare Notice you were given?

 

Anyone has the legal powers to use reasonable force to detain a person and make a citizen's arrest, if they believe a crime has been committed. As for BTP turning up, well as you had yourself dialled 999 already I assume you too had wanted them there to try and resolve matters.

 

I would have thought that the Chief Superintendent of BTP would have taken up the issue when you raised it if they felt there was cause for concern.

 

Have you paid the penalty and if so, has it now been refunded? How much do you think any compensation is worth. Did the event cause you to lose any wages for example? What do Passenger Focus say about it.

 

The problem with involving a solicitor is that if you lose the case you could end up with a hefty bill to find on top of everything else.

 

It depends really if you think it is worthwhile pursuing this, or if it might be better just to let it go and move on with your life.

 

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At this stage, what EXACTLY have you been fined, and what for?

 

I have to agree with caro's last line above. Whilst it may (or may not) have been quite an offensive and upsetting incident, ultimately the actual impact/cost has been minimal - is it really worth pursuing and letting it take over your life for a period of time as a point of principle?

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Yes, I consider it to be worth it, of course I do. If everyone took your attitude, nothing would ever change would it? I was victimised, and something should be done about it.

 

The BTP are investigating the matter by the way.

 

As for leaving the station, sorry I wasn't clear, I had arrived at my destination when this happened, I was only remaining on the platform because I was in the middle of a very important phone call, and I would have lost signal if i'd gone under the tunnel to the exit. I was only on the platform for about 10 mins before they came and checked the ticket. And no, the was no issue concerning the validity of my ticket, and I still have the ticket to prove that. This was harrasment from the REO, plain and simple, they had no reason to re-check my ticket after seeing it the first time.

 

And I was fined for trespassing, and I refused to pay, sending it off for appeal, though I have received no reply to my appeal.

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Hang on - "my attitude"? I didnt say DONT pursue it, I said you need to decide if it is WORTH pursuing.

 

What I dont understand from this whole thread is that whilst you certainly do appear to have been victimised, especially if there are wholly false allegations, what isnt clear is the REASON for the victimisation. Now I accept such victimisation CAN occur for absolutely no reason, but this is usually very few and far between. Is there no motive you were aware of for this behaviour? Did you get the names etc of any other people at the station as witnesses?

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Sadly there were no witnesses, only the CCTV, the REO waited until everyone had left the station before approaching me. As for a reason the only reason I can think of is either the powertrip or because they don't like the way I look (i've got a big beard, long hair, loads of piercings, was wearing bright red combat trousers) beyond that, I dn't know why this happened.

 

And sorry, no offence intended by my comment about attitude, I just feel very strongly about this, and Im not going to let them get away with this.

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My personal point of view (from a laymans point of view) would be to make a formal police complaint, for assault and false imprisonment by the REO. Apart from anything else, this will force the police to acquire the CCTV. Ultimately, he put his hands on you in an agressive fashion - this is classed as common assault I believe.

 

However, presumably there may be some legal reason why this cannot be done...?

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Yeah, it seems the police might be the best bet. Ideally i just wanted a simple, out of court settlement and assurance that the staff in question have been dealt with appropriately, but perhaps I do need to do this properly.

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Ultimately, if you want proper comeback for being victimised, then pursue on the basis of the offences committed!

 

With regards knowing whether the staff were dealt with "appropriately" - you will probably never know of this unless you pursue a criminal action against them. Due to DPA, SW have no obligation or indeed ability to release information regarding internal disciplinary action regarding specific members of staff to anyone.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Yeah, that's what I was told by them. I guess you're are right, there isn't a quick and easy solution to this, so I'm gonna have to start criminal proceedings against them it seems.

 

Thanks for your help and advice

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Welcome. Let us know how you get on, and good luck - I hope you achieve the outcome you are after.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Indeed, because according to southeastern, the REO are sub-contracted from a security firm! This was separately confirmed by the BTP without any prompting from me! According to the chief superintendant, some REOs are sanctioned by BTP, but not the ones that southeastern use. And both southeastern and BTP offered to me the suggestion that it was impersonation! Very strange. That press report certainly contradiccts that! The fare evasion part is irrelevant though because I had a valid ticket to travel, it was me supposedly vaulting over a barrier that I got the ticket for! However, whatever authority they do or don't have, they still laid hands upon me without consent or warning, which is assault, and detained me, which the actual police told them and me, they could not do. Not quite sure, but that's damn near kidnapping in the eyes of the law!

 

Another point about their conduct, they took my statement before cautioning me, and refused to let me see it to verify what they were writing. A friend of mine who's an ex-policeman said that the statement is inadmissable because of this. It just shows the complete lack of training going on at southeastern.

 

Is there any mileage in asking for compensation before i involve (and pay) a solicitor? If so, what kind of figure is appropriate to ask for?

 

Cheers

 

Unholy

 

Southeastern Trains REO's are not subcontracted, they are employed directly by the company.

 

Out of curiosity, which station were you at, and where were you standing when the REO's approached you?

Edited by Gary29

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi there, i need some advice, in November last year I had a horrible experience at a train station. I was standing on the platform talking on my phone, when 3 Rail enforcement officers came up and asked me for my ticket, which I showed them, they then walked away. 2 minutes later, they came and asked to see it again, again I showed them it, and they walked off. About 30 seconds later, they came back again, and told me I had to leave the station immediately because I had walked past a sign that said "no passengers beyond this point" (I had not by the way!) I just said "whatever" and started to walk towards the exit, when one of the officers roughly grabbed hold of my arm and said "hold on, you're not going anywhere" and then proceeded to tell me he was going to write me a penalty notice for trespassing. I again tried to leave and another of the officers pushed me in the chest and told me I couldn't leave.

 

Frightened, I dialed 999 and spoke to the police who told me that REO have no power or right to detain me, I asked the woman at 999 to speak to the REO and she did (they were very polite and compliant on the phone) and then when the call was done they still said I couldn't leave and the phoned the transport police for backup.

 

When the transport police turned up (there are now a total of 5 officers "dealing" with me) the REO story suddenly changed and rather than just walking past asign, I had now vaulted over the yellow barrier at the end of the platform and started to head for the track!

 

I was incensed and demanded they look at the CCTV whih the Transport Police did, andtold me that it was obvious that I hadn't jumped over anything, but that I still had to accept the penalty notice and that I could just appeal it.

 

The REO then cautioned me, and got me to sign penalty notice which was headed "British Trasport Police" I have subsequently found out from talking to the Chief Superintendant of the Transport Police that REO have no right to caution nor should they be carrying notebooks with "Transport Police" written on them, and in his view, the REO were impersonating police officers!

 

Now, southeastern trains have been amazingly unhelpful, doing nothing more than sending me standard apology letters that have no relevance to my case, so I got into contact with passenger focus who advised me to request compensation from southeastern.

 

What I was wondering is, how do I phrase a compensation request? Do I ask for a specific figure, if so what would be an appropriate sum? Or do I just ask for compensation and see what they offer? Any advice would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks

 

Unholy

 

Hi

 

You fail to mention where this all took place, was it Orpington? Or Dartford? ETC

 

 

Rail Enforcement Officers have every right to caution you if you have committed an offence that is recordable in court. And they are accredited by the British transport police. They have notebooks that they have to record their movements and any incidents in which is part of the accreditation requirement, the REOs have police radios and can contact the BTP directly. Have You have been issued with a £50 penalty notice of disorder (PND's) for trespass? or possibly for unacceptable behavior? (public disorder)which would be £80, they can remove you by force from any southeastern property so they can touch you for that purpose if you refuse to comply. They can access the PNC (Police National Computer) to issue PND's

 

If you have spoken to the head of the transport police, then i am surprised that he has maybe forgotten that HE personally supports and accredits every one of Southeasterns REO's.

 

I would think you have no ground to charge the REO's (via the police)but maybe issue a letter of complaint to the customer services at Southeastern, this would be more effective.

Edited by blazer666_uk
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My personal point of view (from a laymans point of view) would be to make a formal police complaint, for assault and false imprisonment by the REO. Apart from anything else, this will force the police to acquire the CCTV. Ultimately, he put his hands on you in an agressive fashion - this is classed as common assault I believe.

 

However, presumably there may be some legal reason why this cannot be done...?

 

 

REO's are allowed to remove you from their premises by force if necessary, so they can touch you for this purpose, the have received suitable training in this matter.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll add... that this is load of 'codswallop'...its my word of the month.

More seriously though, it just goes to show the sort of rubbish the public will come up with to embelish a complaint.

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  • 3 months later...

I know this is an old topic, but I thought I'd reply nonetheless. Southeastern Trains' Rail Enforcement Officers (REOs), are Accredited by the BTP under the Railway Safety Accreditation Scheme (RSAS), this is the same as the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) that some local councils run. The only difference in the two are that RSAS is on the railways and CSAS is in the community. Obviously some of the powers differ to reflect this.

 

Now to the point, it interested me just how little some people know about RSAS, and how some people responded in this thread. No offence is intended here by the way guys! Firstly, I'm an Accredited Person under RSAS, although I don't work for Southeastern Trains, I work for another Train Company. If there was ANY truth in what the Original Poster has written, then what the REOs have done, seems to be totally unwarranted. REOs have the power to issue PNDs (Penalty Notice for Disorder) for various offences, and depending on the offence, it would either be £50 or £80. In this case it would have been a £50 PND for Trespass on the Railway (£80 for public order wouldn't have applied because a) the alleged offence was that of Trespass and b) From the information supplied there was no behaviour that could have caused alarm, harassment or distress, which is the term of the Section 5 public order PND).

 

REOs, aswell as other Accredited Staff, can caution when either reporting the facts to their company when an offence has been committed by way of submitting an MG11 (Magistrates Guidence...Or method of guidence form), or when they are isuing a PND. When issuing a PND the caution is slightly different, as you're not necessarily going to be questioning the 'suspect', and as such, use what's known as the 'Now Caution' (Which replaces the part that says "...When Questioned..." with ..."Now"...). RASA Accredited Persons have five main powers (might differ slightly depending on the company, but I'm sure it's funadamentally the same).

 

  • To request a name and address from a person acting in an anti-social manner
  • To request a name and address in order to issue a PND
  • To seize alcohol products from underage persons
  • To seize Tobacco products from underage persons
  • To photograph a 'suspect' away from a Police Station

The above are also in addition to your powers as an Authorised Person for the train company you work for (anybody, be it station staff or an RPI, is classed as an authorised person). With the railway Byelaws, any Authorised person has the right to remove any other person who appears to be breaching the byelaws in any way, and has the right to use approriate force in doing so. Of course the training you have been given and your knowledge of the byelaws will dictate this.

 

As far as the impersonating a police officer goes, a term of RSAS is that you are instantly recognisable as NOT being a Police Officer...these boundaries are stretched to an extent, as in my opinion anybody wearing hi-viz clothing, body amour and a hat with either a blue or silver band, looks fairly Police-like, lol. The notbook covers are niether here nor there, and has never been an issue. Bear in mind all note books are logged should evidence be required. As far as CCTV goes, the BTP can seize it if they believe an offence has been committed by a party, likewise the train company can seize it if their staff need to be investigated for any reason.

 

To the Original Poter - If you appealed you should have heard something by now, but all appeals are basically heard in court and if you are found to be being ecconomical with the truth, the penalty would more than likely me far greater than the £50 the PND was worth. When you said the REOs said you were beyond the anti-trespass sign or its equivalent, where actually were you? Because in theory, one foot over any you're Trespassing...maybe a little petty, but you see my point? From my view point though, it does seem that you are far too interested in compensation than any ordinary person, given how many times you have mentioned getting some!

 

Finally, REOs have potentially got alot to lose, and this whole story seems quite unlikely...Or at least a bit 'twister around' to suit the poster. Anyway. Sorry for the length of this post and thanks for reading. If anybody wants any further info regarding RSAS, I'll try my best!

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Stigy, yours is a useful post for the vast majority of users I am sure.

 

REOs are as you say, a rail orientated version of the Community Support Officers and are employed by the Train Operating Company to assist in safety and public order matters and may additionally be required to assist with revenue checks.

 

There is one small quote from your information that I have highlighted here in blue and which I must correct:

 

'The above are also in addition to your powers as an Authorised Person for the train company you work for (anybody, be it station staff or an RPI, is classed as an authorised person).'

 

It is not true to say that anyone who works for a Rail Company is an 'Authorised Person'

 

The term 'Authorised Person' is defined clearly within the meaning of the Penalty Fares (Railways) Rules, which are a part of the Railways Act and the term has a very specific meaning.

 

It refers to those persons who have completed the proper training and are passed by the TOC to perform their duties in respect of issuing Penalty Fare Notices. An 'Authorised Person' must always be able to show their authorisation at the time and must be competent in all aspects of the role. REOs and many other Rail Staff including Guards, RPIs etc will have been trained and will be issued with an Authorised Person Number.

 

Any member of Rail Staff may report breaches of Railways Byelaws, but there are other, specific responsibilities and authorisations in relation to Revenue Protection Inspectors (RPIs) in particular.

 

RPIs receive training in a variety of legislations including the Police & Criminal Evidence Act (1984), The Regulation of Railways Act (1889), National Railways Byelaws (2005) and guidelines such as The Successful Presentation of Evidence. Training in these areas allow for more serious matters to be dealt with by them.

 

For example, although it is rarely appropriate to use it, PACE trained RPIs do have a power of arrest in relation to Section 5.2 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889, a power which is no longer available to a Police Officer.

 

This specific power was repealed for Police because the authority is now available to Police Officers under the General Arrest conditions of PACE (1984) and the authority now only applies to trained rail staff.

 

So far as Penalty notices are concerned, this is not a power that is available to any 'authorised person' within the meaning determined by the Penalty Fares (Railways) Rules.

Edited by Old-CodJA
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There is one small quote from your information that I have highlighted here in blue and which I must correct:

 

'The above are also in addition to your powers as an Authorised Person for the train company you work for (anybody, be it station staff or an RPI, is classed as an authorised person).'

 

It is not true to say that anyone who works for a Rail Company is an 'Authorised Person'

 

I was referring to Authorised Person as far as the Byelaws are concerned, not Penalty Fares. I can't think of wording for a specific byelaw off hand, but when they refer to 'an Authorised Person' they mean any person working for the TOC in question...Or at least that's what I've been taught. I understand where you're coming from with regards to Penalty Fares though. Appologies if I wasn't clear.

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