To increase the safety of customer service staff and all passengers, NetCo body cams have been in use on Trans Regio’s Mittelrheinbahn line since August 2021. A total of five employees wear bright yellow high-visibility vests on the route between Mainz, Koblenz and Cologne after 7 p.m., to which the small cameras are attached. The body cams are activated whenever it is deemed necessary in critical situations.
Choosing The Body Cam After Increase In Assaults
The reason for the introduction of the body cams was an evaluation of the employees’ daily reports, which revealed a sharp increase in assaults and critical incidents. In addition, the personal feeling of safety of each passenger is important in the question of whether and how much public transport is used and is therefore a central concern of many public transport companies.
Pilot Project With Obstacles
The project was originally launched in 2019, but was suspended in the meantime due to a pandemic before being revived in the summer of 2021. Trans Regio is thus one of the first transport companies in Germany to use body cams for employee and passenger protection. In previous use cases, body cameras have only been used by police forces and security services.
It was a long road to the start of the project, however, as both the Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia state data protection authorities had to give their approval beforehand.
Data Protection Has Priority
Compliance with the GDPR was a top priority both before the start and during the project. The works council and all responsible data protection officers of the company (Trans Regio) and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate are involved in all processes and are in constant communication about this.
Use Cases Are Clearly Regulated
The customer service representatives who agreed to test the use of the body camera were first given extensive training in how to use the small cameras. During the checks, the body cam is in standby mode by default. In critical situations, it is activated as needed with a tap on the touchscreen. The passenger can then see himself in the mirror function on the body cam display. However, the camera does not yet record. Only when the customer service representatives press the record button and have signaled to the guest that they are beginning to record does the actual recording start. The recorded data is only read out and permanently stored if the federal police consider the footage to be relevant for criminal investigations. For example, a recording from 2019 was requested by the Cologne Federal Police. This involved a mass brawl on a MittelrheinBahn train. Thanks to the recordings, the investigating authorities were helped to find the perpetrators.
Trans Regio accompanied the introduction of the body cams with a poster campaign with the slogan “Because three eyes see more” and had already been drawing attention to the project on the trains for some time and raising awareness among passengers. Initial feedback showed that both employees and passengers feel safer as a result of the body cams and are more attentive in their behavior.