Train passengers could have their journeys tracked under fresh police plans to catch criminals

The British Transport police's Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi has admitted there will be some “civil rights and liberty aspects” to the plans

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Train passengers could be set to have their journeys tracked under fresh plans by the British Transport Police (BTP) to catch criminals.

The BTP said they were in talks with rail firms on how such a system could work, which could involve the police being given passenger data to help them identify criminals such as sex offenders through unusual travel patterns.

The force’s Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi has denied that the plans will lead to a “Big Brother” style system.

But she added that there will be some “civil rights and liberty aspects” to the plans.

Train passengers could have their journeys tracked under fresh plans by the British Transport Police
Train passengers could have their journeys tracked under fresh plans by the British Transport Police
BTP Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi has denied that the plans will lead to a “Big Brother” style system
BTP Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi has denied that the plans will lead to a “Big Brother” style system

Explaining the plans, Ms D’Orsi said: “We’re not really looking for your data. We’re looking for the data of the predatory sex offender.

“So we’re looking for anomalous behaviour. We’re not looking for you as an individual. We’re looking at the behaviour trends.

“Then the behaviour trends help us to put it into the system to understand where we need to focus our policing.

“There is a missed opportunity to look at how we can use data in a better way so we need data sharing agreements.

“This is what we’re working through at the moment as to how we can and how we can use our data sharing agreements,” she told Policing TV.

She continued: “An example I gave recently is somebody who’s travelling the Underground for six hours. Why are they travelling? So they tap in? And they tap out six hours later? Why is that? Possibly lost, possibly vulnerable, possibly a pickpocket, possibly a predatory sex offender?

“At the moment, we’re all looking for these individuals, whether it be from a crime perspective or vulnerability perspective.”

“Another example is somebody who takes a train from London to Liverpool, and gets the return train back straightaway. That’s just not normal. That’s just not what people do. So why is somebody doing that?

“That could be county lines – somebody’s dropping some drugs up there and then coming back down to London. So how can we just look more broadly at what the data is telling us and then make the choices of whether we want to use that data or not?