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k1mmie

Advice needed on feet on seats caution

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My son was travelling on a first train with headphones on and Reading a paper and had his feet on the seat. He was approached and cautioned and a statement taken. He was then asked to fill in all his personal details and said they would write. He got a bit worried as in his eyes all he did was put his feet on the seat, and admitted this.

 

My concern is, my son is 16 and can they caution a 16 year old with no adult there and what are they likely to do next?

 

He is worried that they may give a fine and obviously he can't pay it.

 

Thanks

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Hi,

 

I have to say that it annoys me when I see such behaviour. Not so bad if he hadn't got shoes on but I take it he had. To me its inconsiderate.

 

That being said, it is a trifle petty for this 'someone' to go as far as taking a statement. I use to approach it differently by asking the passenger ''are you comfortable there?'' The answer would almost always be ''yes thanks!'' To which I would reply ''well would you mind making yourself slightly less comfotable by removing your feet off the seats''. And that would be done and dusted.

 

May be there is a part of this story missing... like maybe he had marked or damaged the seat perhaps? If not, I cannot see what action they can take unless he had refused to remove his feet off the seat or something. Seems very over the top to me.


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I agree completely, and he has been taught not to do this. However a teenager not thinking on an empty train! When they asked him why he had his feet on the seat he said I was just relaxing and stretched my feet out. There was no damage. The officer said to him we spend a lot of money on seats, and fair do, but whatever happened to just talking to him. They asked him are you denying it, he said no. Then asked him are you going to argue, he said noHeir is a really good kid, and he is worried sick now what they will do. I think this is Well over reacted. He should not be made to feel a criminal. Can they caution a 16year old on their own?

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The principle of simply asking people to take their feet off seats has been the norm for the 30-odd years that

I have been involved in this line of work however, it has in the main been a failure, because as soon as the inspector / conductor / train manager has moved on, back go the feet.

 

This results in the dirty and soiled seating that other fare paying travellers complain about and huge expense in trying to clean them.

 

There has always been a Byelaw offence in relation to this and prosecutions have been made in the past.

A number of TOCs are now taking a hard-line approach and prosecution will probably be more common in the future.

 

Was he actually cautioned or, was he asked his name and address and told that he was being reported?

You don't have to be cautioned for a report to be made.

 

However, persons aged 16 and under should not be interviewed under caution without the presence of an ‘appropriate adult (but can be asked their name, age and address)’ .

Edited by Old-CodJA

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He said they were cautioning him and took a statement and asked if they wanted to them to write anything down in his defense. He was shocked and just said no. They wrote it all out and then gave him a small piece of paper to write his name and address and date of birth. He filled this in, but only after they had taken the statement. Maybe they thought he was older as he does look older, but surely they should have asked his age first if this is the case.

 

What could happen now?

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He said they were cautioning him and took a statement and asked if they wanted to them to write anything down in his defense. He was shocked and just said no. They wrote it all out and then gave him a small piece of paper to write his name and address and date of birth. He filled this in, but only after they had taken the statement. Maybe they thought he was older as he does look older, but surely they should have asked his age first if this is the case.

 

What could happen now?

 

Sorry if it seems pedantic, BUT it is really important to be clear about this.

 

'He said they were cautioning him' is the important bit.

 

It is absolutely imperative that this point is clarified.

 

Was it your son's perception of what was happening or, did the reporting agent say the following words?:

 

"You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned, something that you may later rely on in Court. Anything you do say, may be used in evidence. Do you understand the caution?"

 

If he simply thought he was being cautioned because someone gave him a warning about putting his feet on the seats and asked his name & address before writing a short statement of what happened in a notebook, he was not cautioned.

 

If the words I have put in italics above were spoken by the person questioning him, then your son was indeed cautioned, but there are strict guidelines in respect of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act (1984) which must be adhered to. In that case, a brief statement will have been taken and read back aloud to the 'suspect' whilst allowing that person to read what was written. At the end of that brief interview he will be invited to check and sign those notes.

 

If all that happened, he was questioned under caution

 

We need to clarify that before being certain what could happen next.

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I will have to ask him later if those exact words were used. However I tend to think they were as he used the word caution from them and explained what you have written about making a statement and Reading it back to him and getting him to sign it.

 

His words were the policeman sat next to me and did say I am not arresting you.

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I'm going to leave this in the capable hands of OC. BUT I have to say from the OPs info it seems very over the top to me. I appreciate that we are talking about the OP's son and she is obviously going to protect him BUT I do feel there must be more to this as stated in my post #2.


Please Note

 

The advice I offer will be based on the information given by the person needing it. All my advice is based on my experiences and knowledge gained in working in the motor and passenger transport industries in various capacities. Although my advice will always be sincere, it should be used as guidence only.

 

I would always urge to seek face to face professional advice for clarification prior to taking any action.

 

Please click my reputation 'star' button at the bottom of my profile window on the left if you found my advice useful.

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I'm going to leave this in the capable hands of OC. BUT I have to say from the OPs info it seems very over the top to me. I appreciate that we are talking about the OP's son and she is obviously going to protect him BUT I do feel there must be more to this as stated in my post #2.

 

I can assure you, this is all that has happened. Whilst of course I will protect my son, I will also be the first to say when he is wrong and I told him this. However I am flabergasted that this was all over his foot on the seat! That is why I am so intrigued as to where this can/ will go. I also feel that they should have asked if a parent was nearby as he was approaching his stop and this should have been conducted in front of them. Instead he felt like he wasn't really sure what was going on. They obviously didn't want to get off the train as he said I will hurry up then if the next stop is yours. My son thought this was to do with his ticket and offered it to show even though it was not.

Edited by k1mmie
Update

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His words were the policeman sat next to me and did say I am not arresting you.

 

Aah, now that may change the whole matter....and maybe not

 

You will see by reading through the whole thread, that is the first time that a Policeman has been mentioned.

 

Until now the OP has seemed to infer that the traveller was spoken to by rail staff.

 

Police officers do not make ticket checks as a course of their duties so, were rail staff involved earlier and was a Police Officer called to assist?

 

You don't say on what rail service this occurred and that may have a bearing on why a Police officer was present.

 

I can think of a number of reasons why Police might be on some trains, but knowing where this happened will help.

 

I'll leave it at that until we know the answers to the questions concerning the caution etc.

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My son said they looked a bit like policemen but couldn't be sure if they were. They dressed a bit like them. To be honest never had any dealings so he wasn't sure who they worked for. He actually thought it was train staff as it was on the train.

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No, the whole situation was he had feet on seat as described. He said 2 men who may have been policemen were walking through carriage. Asked if they could have a word, asked where he was getting off and when he said next stop, they said right we better make this quick then. said he was not being arrested but then took a statement about why his feet were on the seat and did he admit it. He said they mentioned cautioning and when I asked him if they used the words in italic he said something like that. (typical teenager)

they then asked him to put his name and address and date of birth down.

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Sorry forgot to add. Train was great western (first) I think. From shenfield to billericay.

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No, the whole situation was he had feet on seat as described. He said 2 men who may have been policemen were walking through carriage. Asked if they could have a word, asked where he was getting off and when he said next stop, they said right we better make this quick then. said he was not being arrested but then took a statement about why his feet were on the seat and did he admit it. He said they mentioned cautioning and when I asked him if they used the words in italic he said something like that. (typical teenager)

they then asked him to put his name and address and date of birth down.

 

Sorry forgot to add. Train was great western (first) I think. From shenfield to billericay.

 

 

I'm sorry, but it really is hard to give you a categoric answer then. You would need to be really certain of what happened before making any accusations.

 

I guess your best bet is to wait and see whether the rail company write to him and then respond on the basis of the letter that he receives.

 

The train operator between Billericay and Shenfield is not First Great Western - it is currently National Express East Anglia. (NEXA)

Edited by Old-CodJA

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Thanks for all your advice. Will wait and see what happens.

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Hi..

 

That line is NXEA, I'm unaware of Police regullary travelling on that line and have never seen them get involved on traffic matters, however as it has many ungated stations, ticket inspectors are quite regular so I think it was one of them.

 

Interestingly I was reading a feature about 'feet on seats' and the company concerned admitted that it did not actually have any legal powers to do anything about it, I'm sure this was in relation to NXEA 'sister' line C2C, but it may well apply to NXEA, ill try and check.

 

Ok..It's C2C

 

http://www.c2c-online.co.uk/about_us/passenger_panel/summaries_of_issues_raised/september_2008

 

It would be interesting if NXEA does have this power but C2C does not.

 

Andy

Edited by andydd

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For the T.O.Cs, National Railways Byelaws (2005) apply across the country and Byelaw 6 (4) states 'No person shall soil any part of the railway'.

 

In the section headed 'Enforcement and interpretation' see: 23 (1) 'Any person reasonably suspected by an authorised person of breaching or, attempting to breach any of these Byelaws shall give his name and address when asked by an authorised person.

 

In the same section see: 24 (1) Any person who breaches any of these Byelaws commits an offence and with the exception of Byelaw 17, may be liable for each such offence to a penalty not exceeding Level 3 on the standard scale. (That's a fine of up to £1000.)

 

This goes on to say; 24 (2) (iii) No person shall fail to carry out the instruction of an authorised person acting in accordance with powers given by these Byelaws or any other enactment.

 

So, a person who is found with feet on seats having walked onto a train, could, in the opinion of an authorised person be actually soiling the seat if his footwear is clearly dirty or, may be likely to soil the seats and therefore may be considered to be in breach of Byelaw 6 (4). (actually has soiled or, by his action attempting to or, likely to soil)

 

If any action were taken it would probably be under this legislation, but in fairness, I have to say that my personal opinion is that this is very, very unlikely to see action in a Youth Court in the case of a 16 year-old.

 

The beligerent adult who refuses to take his feet off the seats is a different matter in my opinion, but there is a general legislation as shown above under the section of Byelaws entitled 'Unacceptable Behaviour'

Edited by Old-CodJA

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It's over kill, specially if it takes two people to take a statement, maybe ones there to make sure the others spelling is correct. As per usual easy pickings for the train companies. A good talking too, it's careless behaviour, but taking a statement thats going too far.


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It's over kill, specially if it takes two people to take a statement, maybe ones there to make sure the others spelling is correct. As per usual easy pickings for the train companies. A good talking too, it's careless behaviour, but taking a statement thats going too far.

 

In the case of a 16 year-old I agree, but as usual we only have one side of the story.

 

The legislation is there to deal with those beligerent individuals who appear in all walks of life.

 

Please be realistic in this. There are no 'easy pickings for the train company' in this case.

 

There isn't a fare to collect and there isn't a penalty fare for the specific offence.

 

If, and it's a big IF, the case were prosecuted and convicted the fine goes to Courts central funds and the prosecution could only make a claim for the costs that they had actually incurred. They would probably only get a proportion of that back.

 

There's nothing in it for the train companies except an exercise in re-education of the traveller and an attempt to avoid dirty seats on trains.

Edited by Old-CodJA

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It was probably "travel safe officers" who spoke with the OP's son, this offence is usually dealt with under one of the parts of byelaw 6, don't have a copy in front of me but is something like "willfully interfering with the comfort of other persons on the railway", and the person whos comfort was interfered with was probably the officer.

 

Mersey rail are VERY hot on this offence and there have been previous post's on this forum of similar stories, if the OP's son was cautioned without an appropriate adult present then anything that was said/admitted to by the OP's son whilst under caution will be inadmissable in court as under PACE anyone under 17 MUST be accompanied by an "appropriate adult" to be interviewed.

 

On a positive note, in the worst case scenario and he does have to go to court then byelaw offences won't go onto his record.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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Yes, the most common charge is under National Railways Byelaw 6 (4) (2005)

 

I reproduced it earlier in the thread and I expect you're right, TSO's seems the most likely bet.

 

I doubt that this will go any further than a warning letter.....If that

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Your probably right there OC, it gives the TOC's a reason to keep the persons details on file.


Views expressed in this forum by me are my own personal opinion and you take it on face value! I make any comments to the best of my knowledge but you take my advice at your own risk.

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As a Train guard with over 25 years service, one of my pet hates are feet on seats and passengers putting bags/cases on seats when people are standing.

If you child did this, he ought to be punished, as I personally do not like sitting on seats made filthy by muck off other peoples footware.

When I see this happening on a train I am on, I tell them in no uncertain terms the error of thier ways, in a manner they understand and make them shift the feet off the seat.

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