TfL sets target for £350m CCTV rollout over underground blackspot

CCTV cameras will be installed on all Central Line trains by 2024, a year later than initially said.

The lack of CCTV on Central Line trains has become more acute since discussions around the safety of women.

In 2019, the London Assembly drew attention to the high number of reports of sexual assault on the London Underground. 100 assaults were reported on the Central Line – nearly double that of the next most reported line – the Victoria line at 55.

At the time, Susan Hall, who seconded a motion, said: “A staggering one in four sexual assaults on the tube take place on the Central Line, yet perversely it is one of two lines which doesn’t have onboard CCTV.”

In 2019, TfL said it was not planning to install cameras until 2023 – a timeline described at the time as “completely unacceptable”. However the £350 million project will not be completed until 2024 – with work starting this year.

Each of the 85 Central Line trains are made up of eight carriages.

TfL explained that CCTV cannot be installed until the entire motor on each carriage is replaced – currently the motors are so unreliable they are to support any extra power being fed into the carriage to support CCTV cameras.

Siwan Hayward, director of compliance, policing operations and Security at TfL:  said: “All of our passengers have the right to travel without fear or intimidation. We work closely with the British Transport Police to combat unwanted sexual behaviour and harassment and have police officers and police community support officers dedicated to preventing crime and catching offenders patrolling our network.

“We would encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses any such behaviour to speak to our trained staff who will be ready to assist, or report it by texting 61016.

“More undercover patrols take place on the Central Line than any other line and there is an extensive network of more than 77,000 CCTV cameras operating across London’s transport network, including cameras at all stations on the Central Line.

“The work to improve the trains, which is now underway, will mean that CCTV is installed on all 85 trains in the fleet.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter