Now that the dark nights and mornings are well and truly upon us, those of us that work alone and travel alone should be more vigilant. We want to highlight a few safety measures to ensure that you remind yourself when travelling alone. Although the risk factors and levels vary from one area to another, there are some safety measures that we can all use to help improve our personal safety.
Travelling by bus, tram or train:
- Please ensure you plan your trips ahead especially the evening and night shifts, and your journey home. If you are catching a bus or train, find out the times to avoid waiting for long periods at bus stops or stations.
- Try and have your ticket, pass or change ready in your hand so your purse or wallet is out of sight.
- If travelling at night or in an unfamiliar area, try and arrange for someone to meet you at the bus stop or train station. Otherwise, try to walk near other people with whom you feel safe, and walk purposefully to your destination.
- If possible, wait for a bus, tram or train in a well-lit place near other people.
- Carry extra money in case you get stranded and need to take another bus, train or cab.
- If you’re concerned about your safety on a bus, sit close to the driver.
- On trains avoid compartments that have no access to corridors or other parts of the train. Try to sit with other people and avoid empty carriages.
- If you feel uneasy, it makes sense to move to another seat or carriage or get off at the next stop if you know the area.
- If you feel threatened on public transport make as much noise as possible to attract the attention of the driver or guard.
Taxis and minicabs:
- Always use a taxi or licensed minicab.
- Taxis (Hackney Carriages) can be hailed in the street. They look like purpose-built taxis or black cabs and have an illuminated taxi sign on the roof.
- Licensed minicabs cannot be hailed in the street. They must be pre-booked. The driver should have an ID and the vehicle will have some sort of license displayed on it.
- Cars cruising the streets looking for customers are illegal, uninsured and potentially very dangerous.
- Carry the telephone number of a trusted, licensed company with you.
- If possible, book a taxi or minicab in advance. Ask for the driver’s name, as well as the make and colour of the car.
- Confirm the driver’s details when they arrive. Is it the taxi or minicab you ordered?
- If you are ordering a cab from a public place, try not to let people overhear your name and address – anyone could pretend to be your cab.
- Always try to sit in the back of the car and if you chat to the driver, be careful not to give out any personal details.
- If you feel threatened remember to trust your instincts. If you are at all worried, ask the driver to stop in a busy area and get out of the car.
- If the driver refuses to stop, use a mobile (if you have one) to call the police and alert other drivers and pedestrians by waving or calling out the window.
Walking to and from the bus stops/train stations:
- Think about the route and where you could go if you felt threatened. The best idea is to head for a public place where you know there will be other people, eg a garage or shop.
- Try to use well-lit, busy streets and avoid dangerous spots like quiet or badly lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks.
- Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them.
- Try to keep both hands free and don’t walk with your hands in your pockets.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic to avoid curb crawlers.
- Keep your mind on your surroundings. Remember, if you are wearing a personal stereo or chatting on your mobile phone, you will not hear trouble approaching.
- If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can cross the road, whilst turning to look to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, keep moving. Make for a busy area and tell people what is happening. If necessary, call the police.
- Never accept a lift with a stranger or someone you don’t know very well even if you are cold, tired or it is very late.
- Consider carrying a personal safety alarm, which can be used to shock and disorientate an attacker giving you vital seconds to getaway.
If at any point you feel in danger or threatened or followed whilst travelling between calls or on your way home please call 999 immediately. You can also call the office number at any given time should you feel you are in danger: 0208 690 2406