Public safety

Performance indicator

Realisation in 2023

Realisation in 2022

Target value for 2023

Minimum value for 2023

Customer satisfaction with public safety*





  • *Customer satisfaction levels will be measured using the Public Transport Customer Barometer (OVKB) and published in late February 2024.

NS aims to provide a safe travel and work environment where passengers feel happy and employees are able to perform to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, the number of incidents involving aggression against NS staff rose again in 2023. The Employee Monitor survey conducted across the public transport sector last year also showed a sharp decline in perceived safety among public transport workers.
This is partly due to increasingly severe problems in society as a whole, such as the rise in the number of disturbed people, asylum-seeker issues and an overall increase in aggressive behaviour. Like many other organisations, NS is having to deal with this development. The trend towards more aggression and intolerance since the COVID-19 crisis is reflected in our public safety figures.


NS is taking a variety of steps to improve public safety. Our measures mainly focus on stations and routes with relatively high numbers of public safety reports and incidents. Among other things, we deploy extra Safety & Service officers where required, run campaigns and step up security – sometimes with dogs – at our stations and on our trains. We also took several more drastic measures, such as closing entrances at Lelystad Centrum station, 100% entry control at Maarheeze station and night-time entry control at Amsterdam Central Station. We are aware that ‘softer’ measures can also be helpful. Together with the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), we invite people with a refugee background to serve as hosts to help asylum seekers at Zwolle station in their own language. At several COA locations we explain how public transport works in the Netherlands, and at Zwolle station we have placed a money-changing machine to enable asylum seekers to exchange money to buy a ticket. Despite taking responsibility wherever possible, we are approaching the limits of what we can do – and are legally permitted to do – as a carrier. We urgently need our partners to help us find solutions, both at the government level and elsewhere. In response to increasing concerns surrounding public safety, NS has set up an action committee in which the Ministries of Infrastructure and Water Management and Justice and Security, the police and other carriers have joined forces with us to speed up the implementation of desired measures and to streamline collaboration among themselves and with other parties. However, we have not made a great deal of progress to date. NS’s wishes in this regard include access for its special enforcement officers (Safety & Security officers) to the driver licence register and access for main guards to the Personal Records Database (BRP).

Safe transport during events

Since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, major events such as concerts, festivals, sports competitions and protest marches have become even larger and more frequent than they were before the pandemic. Moreover, these events often take place at the same time, causing increasingly large peaks in passenger volumes on public transport. Together with other carriers and public service providers such as the police, NS plays a crucial role in facilitating safe outward and return journeys for event-goers. Our starting point is that safe passenger transport is only possible if the risks are sufficiently manageable. Passenger and staff safety are paramount in everything we do. We are quick to consult with the parties and event organisers involved at various levels to get a clear view of what is and isn’t feasible at event venues on busy days.

This is why we continue to urge municipalities and safety regions to ensure that NS is involved at an early stage in the licensing and organisation of events. This will help to avoid last-minute interventions, such as the forced closure of a station or the temporary shutdown of train traffic. NS is also in consultation about this issue with the event industry and the Royal Netherlands Football Association KNVB.

Demonstrations at railway stations

Several stations, including Utrecht Central, Rotterdam Central, The Hague Central and Amsterdam Central, were the scene of demonstrations in late 2023. NS does not believe that a railway station is a suitable location for demonstrations, irrespective of what the demonstration is about. Demonstrators cause inconvenience to passengers and potentially endanger the flow of passengers at stations or in station halls. Demonstrations can lead to unsafe situations and make passengers and staff feel unsafe.
We do not authorise demonstrations, but we cannot prevent them either. Restricting or even banning demonstrations is the job of municipalities, the police and the Public Prosecution Service, the ‘local competent authorities’. NS is in close contact with those authorities about appropriate frameworks and measures to ensure the safety of staff, passengers and property.

Incidents involving aggression

Every single incident involving aggression has a considerable impact on the people who witness it. NS therefore encourages staff to report all such incidents. In all, 1,042 incidents of Category A physical or verbal aggression (the most serious type) against staff were reported in the past year – 8% more than in the previous year (2022: 965). The most common cause of such incidents on the train was ticket checks, increasing from 188 incidents in 2022 to 284 in 2023. Ticket checks at our stations were the cause of 111 Category A incidents last year (122 in 2022).
The incidents involved some form of threat (385), and physical violence was recorded in 331 incidents. Other incidents included spitting (188), resisting a public servant (100), threatening with a weapon (22), sexual physical violence (13) and employee discrimination (3).
The number of Category A incidents involving aggression on our trains has increased: from 355 in 2022 to 458 in 2023, an increase of 29%. The number of incidents in this category at stations decreased by 4% (to 581 in 2023, compared with 605 in 2022). Of our uniformed staff, 1,007 were involved in some form of physical aggression (2022: 936).
The number of cases involving injury increased by 14.5%: in 2023, 252 injuries as a result of aggression against staff were recorded (2022: 220). These were mostly minor injuries (88%). In 223 cases, these involved uniformed NS staff (2022: 198), of whom 141 were Safety & Service staff (2022: 131).

Reporting nuisance or unsafe situations via WhatsApp or text message

We use media and stickers in our trains to highlight the option for passengers to contact the NS Control Centre via WhatsApp if they feel unsafe in our trains or to report nuisance. Passengers used this accessible and discreet option reporting option 4,449 times (2022: 4,693). This represents 5% of the total number of such reports received by the NS Control Centre (down 5% from 2022). 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. In this way, we aim to prevent incidents and make people feel safer.

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