Southeastern’s private police force – be careful

A disturbing tale about the antics of Southeastern Railway‘s little-seen Rail Enforcement officers, reacting badly to a passenger taking their photograph on a trip from Gravesend to Charing Cross…

Each time I told them they had no authority over me, and that I hadn’t committed any crime, nor was I unruly, and I had a perfectly legitimate ticket which entitled me to be on the train. The younger of the two officers explained he had seen me taking pictures of them on the platform and they had the right to see those pictures because of their safety. I refused. The older one then said they did have the authority to do so because of the terrorism act. I asked which terrorism act and why were they enforcing that act if they were not police officers? They informed us they did have those powers.

They informed my partner and I that they would be taking us off the train at Dartford where they would meet the British Transport Police who would deal with the situation. I at first refused to go with them stating that they had absolutely no authority to kick me off the train without a legitimate reason. Bear in mind my partner had nothing to do with this incident at all and why they felt she needed to be removed from the train I have no idea. It must be pointed out that we did ask what would happen if we refused. Their answer was they would relay our descriptions to the police and the police would search for us and we would be arrested. I relented not wanting my partner to get too involved and advised them that I would get off the train under protest and that they were forcing me to do something against my will and I would be taking it further.

More at You’ve Been Cromwelled!

Incidentally, nearly eight weeks after my encounter with a platform attendant at Cannon Street who didn’t understand how Oyster worked, Southeastern still haven’t seen fit to respond to my complaint. It’s not just blogs they don’t respond to, clearly.


  1. Comments at You’ve Been Cromwelled! are closed on this post so I can only comment here.

    The problem for said Blogger is railway bye-law 6(8) No person shall molest or wilfully interfere with the comfort or convenience of any person on the railway.

    There is no prohibition on taking photographs of anyone in the street but railway stations are private property so railway officials can stop people taking photographs. British Transport Police constables and ‘Rail Enforcement Officers’ travelling, or at a station for the purpose of travelling, on a train are passengers and interfering with their or any other passenger’s comfort is an offence. (Conversly a BTP constable whose shift consists of patrolling a station, or more commonly these days a number of stations by car is not covered by the bye-law.)

    Having said all that the REOs waffle about terrorism and their demands to see / delete the photographs are nonsense.

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