NS attaches great importance to a safe travel and work environment where passengers feel happy and employees are able to perform to the best of their ability. We have taken a range of measures to enhance personal safety perception, prevent incidents or enable NS and its safety partners to respond effectively to incidents. For example, in July 2022 we introduced live monitoring via cameras in our trains if circumstances so require. In addition, since 2021 we have worked together with mental healthcare services and Hulpkaart Nederland to address and assist people with mental health issues. Since September 2022, a special app has helped NS employees reduce the time it takes to impose a fine. This prevents potential escalation of the situation. We assume our responsibility at NS, but we really need our partners to make things work. This is why we cooperate closely with the police and municipalities, with other carriers and other parties. To mention one example, we have made so-called safety arrangements with our partners to carry out joint actions to increase the level of safety.
In 2022, NS received a €10 million subsidy from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to improve personal safety over the next five years. This was an extension of a previous subsidy granted in 2015. We use the subsidy for extra capacity of Safety & Security personnel at locations and times when safety risks are relatively high. In late 2022, NS started a temporary hiring programme for special enforcement officers in response to a capacity problem.
Realisation in 2022
Realisation in 2021
Minimum value for 2022
Customer satisfaction with social safety
not yet known
Safety levels in our trains and our stations are closely linked to trends in society at large. The COVID-19 measures were dropped at the beginning of 2022, but other problems and feelings of uncertainty in society were on the rise. These include confrontation and polarisation in society, and problems with nationals from safe countries at asylum seekers’ centres. Police statistics also show an increase in the number of young people who carry weapons and the number of incidents involving people with mental health issues. In an attempt to prevent aggression among people unable to produce a valid ticket, NS increasingly ran special campaigns involving checks in and outside the stations. This has helped to prevent conflict and escalation in the station or on our trains. At some stations, since 2022 we have deployed hosts who have refugee status themselves, in collaboration with the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA). These hosts speak the same language as refugees and can help them check in, buy a ticket and find their way.
At the same time, we were confronted with severe labour market shortages last year. As a result, the extra capacity of security staff and other personnel was under pressure. Moreover, passengers had to get used to more frequent ticket inspections after the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, all these developments resulted in higher levels of nuisance and aggression at and around our stations. To address the staff shortages, since 2022 NS has hired extra security personnel who are deployed during events and the like.
Safe transport during events
Arfter the COVID-19 measures, the number of events bounced back in the form of festivals and concerts, and audiences returned to football matches. We carefully monitor the risks associated with the transport of the large groups of passengers travelling to and from those events. We coordinate our measures with other parties involved, the principle always being that safe transport of people is only possible if all the risks are sufficiently under control. In some exceptional situations around the Bijlmer Arena and the Nijmegen Goffert stadium last year, we had to conclude that safe passenger transport was no longer possible. We were quick to consult with the parties and event organisers involved, at various levels, so as to get a clear view of what is and is not feasible at event venues on busy days. This enabled us to offer our passengers a clear perspective.
Reporting nuisance or unsafe situations via WhatsApp or text message
In 2022, we used public media and posters in our trains to highlight the possibility for passengers to contact the NS control centre via Whatsapp when they feel unsafe in our trains or to report nuisance. Passengers used this low-threshold and discrete reporting option 4,693 times (2021: 2,548). This represents 5.7% of the total number of such reports received by the NS control centre (up 84% compared with 2021). Measures including an up-to-date overview of incoming reports and active camera surveillance enable us to deploy security staff where their presence is most helpful.
Incidents involving aggression
Every single incident involving aggression has a considerable impact on the people who witness it That is why NS encourages staff to report all such incidents. In all, 965 incidents of category A physical and verbal aggression (the most serious type) against staff were reported in the past year - 29.7% more than in 2021 ( 744). Ticket inspections in our trains are the most frequent cause of incidents, increasing from 127 incidents in 2021 to 188 in 2022. Ticket inspections at the station led to aggression in 122 cases in 2022 (99 in 2021). Last year, NS colleagues carried out 29.3% more ticket inspections than in 2021.
The incidents involved some form of threat (349), and physical violence was recorded in 256 incidents. There were also cases of aggressive resistance (154), spitting (181), threatening with a weapon (13) and indecent assault (12). In 311 category A incidents, ticket inspection was the direct cause of the aggression (2021: 226).
The number of category A incidents involving aggression on our trains increased: from 243 in 2021 to 355 in 2022 (+46%). The number of incidents in this category at the stations increased by 22% (to 605, compared with 496 in 2021). Of our uniformed staff, 936 were involved in some form of physical aggression (2021: 755).
The number of cases involving injury increased by 18%: in 2022, 220 injuries as a result of aggression against staff were recorded (2021: 186). These were mostly minor injuries (86%). In 198 cases, this involved uniformed NS staff (2021: 172), of whom 131 were Safety & Service staff (2021: 123).