Summary of 'Persons on the track' incidents for 2016-2017 (previously known as "Persons Under Trains" incidents) on London Underground.

Neil Hood made this Freedom of Information request to Transport for London

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Transport for London should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Transport for London,

Could you please provide a tabular summary of the number of "Person on the track" incidents, previously known as "Person Under a Train" incidents, during the last 12 months which have occurred on London Underground?

Please show results per Line and per Station, separated into fatal and non-fatal incidents, thank you.

If possible, could you also provide the dates these incidents occurred?

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Hood

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Hood

 

Our ref: FOI-1799-1718/GH

 

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 6
October 2017 asking for information about 'Persons on the track'
incidents.

 

Your request will be processed by TfL, the Greater London Authority and
its subsidiaries to provide you with a response in accordance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

 

A response will be sent to you by 3 November 2017. We publish a
substantial range of information on our website on subjects including
operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance
and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently
asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check
[1]http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

 

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the
[2]www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send
a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar...
2. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/
3. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/

FOI, Transport for London

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Hood

 

Our ref: FOI-1799-1718/GH

 

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 6
October 2017 asking for information about 'Persons on the track'
incidents.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can
confirm we hold some of the information you require.

 

The Tube supports nearly 5 million customer journeys per day. In 2016/17 a
total of 1.38 billion passenger journeys were made and our transport
network carried more passengers than ever before. Our first priority is
the safety of all our customers, staff and others travelling or working on
our network.

 

We provide training to our staff on how to identify and give the
appropriate support to any customers who appear to be in mental/emotional
distress or who are acting in a way which would identify them as high risk
of suicide. We have worked closely with the Samaritans on developing
training material to give staff even more knowledge about the signs to
look out for and the confidence to intervene. We also work with Network
Rail and other train operating companies to share information and
approaches to managing incidents of suicide on the railway.

 

London Underground (LU) works closely with the British Transport Police
(BTP) and the emergency services to ensure a coordinated response to
incidents. LU has introduced a ‘blue light’ response for the Emergency
Response Unit with a police driver supplied by the British Transport
Police (BTP). We also have the Network Incident Response Team which
includes a BTP Police Medical Officer with a LU Network Incident Response
Manager. Additionally, there has been a notable improvement in medical
intervention in these cases which enables paramedic first aid to be given
on site and enhance the survival rate.

 

For our staff, we have an established Trauma Support Group (TSG), which is
a network of 140 volunteers who are front line operational staff trained
and supervised to provide support to staff members affected by an incident
– local managers trigger this support quickly after an incident.

 

Comprehensive help and support is also available for the friends and
family of anyone injured during, or affected by, a serious incident
involving TfL services, via The Sarah Hope Line (0343 222 5678).

 

You asked for data related to 'Persons on the track' on London
Underground, shown by Line and by Station, separated into fatal and
non-fatal incidents, for the last 12 months.

 

We record such incidents as ‘Persons under a train’, rather than ‘Person
on the track’ (which would potentially include trespassers etc). Please
find attached a table showing the number of incidents of people hit by
trains in the last financial year (2016/17).

 

We have provided the details of the line which these incidents occurred
on, however, The Samaritans have published guidance which advises against
reporting of rail suicides at a particular station, as these details may
result in the station becoming known as a suicide location:
[1]http://www.samaritans.org/sites/default/....
The Samaritans hold details of research that may be useful to you
[2]http://www.samaritans.org/media-centre/m...

 

We do not record these incidents in a way which enables us to report on a
‘fatal/non fatal’ incident, as we are often not made aware of the outcome
of the incident after the person has been taken into the care of
paramedics.

 

You may wish to contact the British Transport Police for information about
the classification of deaths on the railway network:
[3]http://www.btp.police.uk/.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please feel free to contact me.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Graham Hurt

 

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.samaritans.org/sites/default/...
2. http://www.samaritans.org/media-centre/m...
3. http://www.btp.police.uk/
4. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/

Dear Graham Hurt,

I'm very confused by your answer, first of all, the limited data you have provided does not even cover the time period I enquired about. I asked for information relating to the 12 months from October 2016 to October 2017, but you’ve provided the vaguest details covering the financial year from April 2016 to April 2017(!); if I had wanted that time frame I would have asked for it.

Secondly, and this is much more serious, you appear less concerned to provide a straightforward answer to my simple FOI request, but instead have been more concerned to hijack it as an opportunity to convert my FOI into a PR exercise. Why would you do that? Is it lawful? Or even ethical? I do not need to be convinced that the people involved in these terrible incidents are anything other than consummate professionals, I already fully believe that. Therefore, I am struggling to comprehend what your purpose is by including it.

I only wanted simple statistical facts but you provided a lengthy discourse on the workings and priorities of London Underground, British Transport Police, Trauma Support Groups, the Samaritans and even mentioning the Sarah Hope Line (that last reference I can see as perhaps having some relevance for public FOI) but given that I am only interested in the statistics the rest is…, well, I’m not really sure how to define it, but it certainly does not aid in answering my FOI request, so why is it there?

By contrast, in March 2009 I asked TfL virtually the same question (but covering the preceding decade), it therefore required a lot more information, and the tabular response was of such a high calibre I thanked TfL “for the clear and comprehensive response”, and remarked that TfL had shown other organisations “a good example of how well FOIs can be answered.” Sadly, the polar opposite this time is true but I do not know if that it is because of you acting on your own initiative or if it indicates a shift in TfL thinking.

Do I raise my complaint directly with the ICO? Or should I request an Internal Review first to see if that provides better results?

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Hood

IRV-126-1718

Thank you for your request for an internal review which was received on 13 December 2017.

You have stated that you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The review will be conducted by an internal review panel in accordance with TfL’s Internal Review Procedure, which is available via the following URL:

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/internal-revie...

Every effort will be made to provide you with a response by 16 January 2018. However, if the review will not be completed by this date, we will contact you and notify you of the revised response date as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Advisor
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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Dear Emma Flint / TfL,

On Monday 13 December 2018 I wrote to FOI Case Officer Graham Hurt expressing my disappointment at his mishandling of my FOI request; “Summary of 'Persons on the track' incidents for 2016-2017 (previously known as "Persons Under Trains" incidents) on London Underground.”.

At that time I asked; “Do I raise my complaint directly with the ICO? Or should I request an Internal Review first to see if that provides better results?”

It is clear my questions were not read with due care as you advised me you (TfL) had opted to go straight for an Internal Review and advised I would be provided “with a response by 16 January 2018” and that if you were not going to meet this deadline you would write to advise me accordingly.

It is disheartening that you have now failed on a further three counts in handling my FOI:
1. You failed to meet the deadline that you yourselves notified me of for resolving your Internal Review.
2. You also failed to tell me you were going to miss this deadline despite promising you would.
3. And you have also failed to notify me what your new deadline date is going to be.

All in all, your treatment of my FOI has fallen far short of the most basic of standards; I expected more from you.

I hope that providing this reminder will help you to bring to mind your promises and henceforth honour your obligations.

I shall look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood.

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Hood

Please accept my apologies for the delay in providing a response to your internal review and not contacting you sooner with an update. I anticipate a response will be sent to you next week.

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Adviser
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
[TfL request email]

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FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Hood

Please accept my apologies for the delay in providing a response to your internal review and not contacting you sooner with an update. I anticipate a response will be sent to you next week.

Yours sincerely

Emma Flint
Principal Information Access Adviser
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
[TfL request email]

show quoted sections

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hood

 

IRV-126-1718

 

I am contacting you regarding the internal review of your request for
information concerning 'Persons on the track' incidents (FOI-1799-1718).
This review has been carried out by an independent panel following your
email of 13 December 2017 regarding the response provided to your Freedom
of Information request. Please accept my apologies for the delay in
responding.

 

I'm very confused by your answer, first of all, the limited data you have
provided does not even cover the time period I enquired about. I asked for
information relating to the 12 months from October 2016 to October 2017,
but you’ve provided the vaguest details covering the financial year from
April 2016 to April 2017(!); if I had wanted that time frame I would have
asked for it.

 

Attached you will find the requested data for October 2016 - October 2017.
The previous data for financial period 2016/17 was provided in error,
please accept our apologies.

 

Secondly, and this is much more serious, you appear less concerned to
provide a straightforward answer to my simple FOI request, but instead
have been more concerned to hijack it as an opportunity to convert my FOI
into a PR exercise. Why would you do that? Is it lawful? Or even ethical?
I do not need to be convinced that the people involved in these terrible
incidents are anything other than consummate professionals, I already
fully believe that. Therefore, I am struggling to comprehend what your
purpose is by including it.

 

I only wanted simple statistical facts but you provided a lengthy
discourse on the workings and priorities of London Underground, British
Transport Police, Trauma Support Groups, the Samaritans and even
mentioning the Sarah Hope Line (that last reference I can see as perhaps
having some relevance for public FOI) but given that I am only interested
in the statistics the rest is…, well, I’m not really sure how to define
it, but it certainly does not aid in answering my FOI request, so why is
it there?

 

The information about passenger numbers that’s is provided when responding
to requests like this is included to put into context the number of these
incidents in comparison with the millions of journeys taken on our
underground network each year. Between 2009/10 and 2016/17 the number of
passenger journeys on the Underground increased from 1,065 million to
1,378 million. We also consider it relevant when releasing information
about the number of persons under a train to also state the steps taken to
try to prevent such incidents. The Panel apologises if you feel that this
information is provided as a ‘PR exercise’ as this is not our intention.
This provision of this additional information is in no way unlawful or
unethical. Most individuals who request information on these traumatic
incidents are doing so for the first time and the Panel consider that it
is absolutely appropriate to not only answer the FOI request, but also to
explain the action taken to try to prevent such tragic incidents
occurring. Furthermore, we consider that the additional information
provided is likely to be useful to other people who view this request on
the What Do They Know website.

 

By contrast, in March 2009 I asked TfL virtually the same question (but
covering the preceding decade), it therefore required a lot more
information, and the tabular response was of such a high calibre I thanked
TfL “for the clear and comprehensive response”, and remarked that TfL had
shown other organisations “a good example of how well FOIs can be
answered.” Sadly, the polar opposite this time is true but I do not know
if that it is because of you acting on your own initiative or if it
indicates a shift in TfL thinking.

 

The way we respond to requests for ‘Persons on Track’ information was
reviewed several years ago following concern about reporting the specific
locations of potential suicides and possible links between reporting and
subsequent suicide attempts by vulnerable individuals. We provided you
with links to Samaritans guidance, which draws on academic research and a
specifically states that exact locations should not be identified when
reporting suicides. One of the reasons for providing these links was
because it provided independent evidence in support of the refusal under
section 38 of the Freedom of Information Act to withhold the specific
locations of person under train incidents, and as such the links were
provided as evidence of the consideration of the public interest in
disclosure as opposed to the public interest in withholding the exact
locations of such incidents.

 

Disclosures of information under the Freedom of Information Act are
treated as disclosures to the world at large. The response that we send to
you is automatically published on the What Do They Know website and will
be accessible to anyone searching for “Person Under Train” incidents. The
panel have considered whether the locations where people have been hit by
trains should be disclosed, and for the reasons contained in the response
on the linked documents, have upheld the application of section 38 of the
Freedom of Information Act to withhold station locations and only provide
the requested information in summary form broken down by line.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the internal review actions to date
(IRV-126-1718) you can refer the matter to the independent authority
responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act, at the following
address:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

A complaint form is also available on the ICO’s website
([1]www.ico.org.uk).

 

Yours sincerely

 

Emma Flint

Principal Information Access Adviser

Transport for London

[2][TfL request email]

 

 

 

 

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Dear Emma Flint,

1. The way you have integrated your responses into my FOI request is confusing, reading your reply of 29 January 2018 it’s hard to tell where my text stops and your text starts (and vice versa). As the text is all one colour and font size, therefore, for clarification, rather than blend your paragraphs into mine it would make for easier understanding if you labelled your comments to a corresponding label with mine (e.g. 1 mine, 1A yours… 2 mine, 2A yours… 3 mine, 3A yours… etc.). I think this adjustment would give more clarity and aid transparency in your responses. I hope you agree.

2. Regarding your responses, overall they have been significantly less transparent than I had expected. For instance, I submitted an FOI request about the “Person On The Track” incidents on London Underground but you changed that and answered about (and ONLY about) “Suicides” instead. Why? The two are different issues so I don’t understand why did that.

3. Or to briefly put it in a clearer way; as reported in the media in recent months, there have been multiple Person On The Track (POTT) incidents on London Underground, such as;
a) the person who was dragged along the platform at Notting Hill Gate and onto the track when her bag got caught in the train doors
b) the person who was run over at East Acton after climbing down onto the track to collect her fallen personal property
c) the person who was hit by a train after being too intoxicated and falling onto the track at Bethnal Green
d) the person who was pushed onto the track in front of an oncoming train at Tottenham Court Road

4. Each of these recent POTT examples are distinct and happened for a reason not connected with each other except that they do have ONE thing in common; none of them had any relation to suicide. However, the approach you’ve adopted means that you can mask these POTTs simply by reclassifying all POTTs as though they are SUICIDE related! Even though that is false.

5. Moreover, I did not ask for any rationales behind the POTTs to be elaborated upon, my interest is purely statistical; I wish to know the data relating to how many times and where they happened. I am happy for you to keep the reason for the POTTs confidential, as those details are not relevant within the parameters of my FOI request.

6. I hope you don’t mind, but some time back I escalated this matter with the Information Commissioner's Office (Case Reference Number FS50732758) and now that the GDPR has come into effect I believe they ought to now have the resources freed up to address this matter in the interest of transparency.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood.

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hood,

 

I am writing to you in relation to the above FOI request, which has since
been escalated to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). There
appears to have been some misunderstanding on the basis of this FOI
request, which now seems to have been clarified in your correspondence
with the ICO.

 

However, having considered what you have now explained forms the basis of
your request, namely person on track incidents, I am happy to revise our
response to provide the majority of the information requested which can be
found attached. For the avoidance of doubt, the attached provides all
instances of ‘person on track’ incidents (which includes instances of
passengers falling on tracks and trespassing), broken down by date, line,
station and fatal/non-fatal; but does not include details of person under
train incidents, which are a subset of person on track incidents. This is
because we consider this information, when split by individual stations,
to be exempt under section 38.

 

Could you please confirm whether you would still like to appeal the
application of section 38 to withhold the station specific data around
‘person under train’ statistics?

 

Yours sincerely

Lee Hill

Information Access Manager

 

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/