Transport for London

Wednesday 13 Mar 2024

TfL encourages customers to take a stand on International Bystander Awareness Day

TfL encourages customers to take a stand on International Bystander Awareness Day: TfL Image - Hate crime awareness event


  • TfL and police partners engage with Londoners on how to be an active bystander against hate crime and violence against women and girls on public transport
  • Clear advice to bystanders on how to support victims and intervene in incidents supports the work of TfL’s new Equity in Motion plan, which aims to make London safer, more accessible, and more inclusive
  • TfL recently funded sessions by charity Protection Approaches to empower people to take action when they encounter hate crime

Transport for London (TfL) is advising customers about how to become an active bystander if they witness a crime, harassment or incidents of anti-social behaviour across London’s transport network, as the world marks International Bystander Awareness Day.

Figures from London TravelWatch* show that 63 per cent of people using public transport in London would feel more confident intervening in an incident if they had more information on how to help. There has been a rise in hate crimes across the UK, particularly antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents, and being an active bystander can prevent or de-escalate incidents. This can also be beneficial with other incidents such as sexual harassment, where intervening safely can made a big difference. 

TfL is encouraging customers to take a stand, with three simple ways to diffuse a situation and support their fellow travellers, but only if they feel safe to do so:

  1. Distract the perpetrator by asking the person being targeted an unrelated question, such as, “do you have the time?” or “what’s the next stop?”
  2. Make note of what has happened and any information about the offender. Report these details to the British Transport Police on 61016 or by using the Railway Guardian App on TfL’s Underground and rail networks. Or if on a bus call the Metropolitan police on 101 or by going online at In an emergency, always dial 999
  3. Make sure the victim is okay

The annual National Bystander Awareness Day began in 2019, run by charity Communities Inc, to unite people against hate and hostility and in January 2023 the event expanded internationally.

TfL Image - Distract with a question

London's Deputy Mayor for Transport, Seb Dance, said: "The Mayor and I want everyone to be able to use public transport without fear of abuse and TfL takes a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime. Today, I’m asking Londoners to join us in sending the message that hate has no place in our city.

“Londoners have told us that they want to be able to intervene safely if they witness a hate crime, and they would feel more confident doing so if they had information on the best and safest ways to help. That is why TfL is engaging with Londoners on how to be an active bystander against hate crime and violence against women and girls to build a better, safer London for everyone.”

Siwan Hayward, TfL's Director of Security, Policing and Enforcement, said: “Everyone should be and feel safe when using public transport and making this a reality is our top priority. On International Bystander Awareness Day we are supporting Londoners who want to be active bystanders, to help de-escalate incidents and support each other.”

In late 2023, TfL funded a series of eight sessions by charity Protection Approaches to empower people to take action to prevent or reduce harm when they encounter hate crime, looking at how to respond to a series of hypothetical scenarios. The charity will organise follow-up sessions with everyone who attended the training sessions later this spring to better understand how it has improved their confidence to respond to hate crime.

Andy Fearn, Co-Executive Director at Protection Approaches, said: “Whether it is an inappropriate comment in the workplace, harassment on the Tube, or a physical assault in the street, we know that Londoners want to stand up when they witness hate and to do all they can to help protect the victims. Yet most don’t act because they’re unsure how to do so safely and in a way that will ensure the best outcomes. That is why our Active Bystander training has been so important. Our training is proven to helping people feel more confident and equipped to act in the face of hate and discrimination.”

TfL Image - TfL London Underground

The safety of customers is TfL’s top priority and measures are in place to keep Londoners safe as they travel across the city. Thousands of frontline staff are trained to support customers, with more than 500 TfL enforcement officers and around 2,000 police and police community support officers policing the network. TfL has an extensive CCTV network and 24/7 control rooms that monitor the network and provide support in emergencies. Body-worn video cameras, which capture audio recordings as well as images, are used by all TfL frontline customer facing staff.

TfL recently launched Equity in Motion, a plan with more than 80 actions to make London transport fairer, more accessible and more inclusive. This includes outreach activity being expanded to support rough sleepers in London, and Project Guardian school sessions, run by the London Transport Museum, on sexual harassment reaching a further 22,000 Year 9 students in 2024 compared to 2023.

By 2026, focussed research and engagement will look to better understand the experiences of disabled customers, women and girls, and LGBTQ+ people and their concerns about safety and security, and in the following year, frontline staff will be provided with training, guidance and tools to support victims of sexual violence and harassment, and hate crime.

Contact Information

TfL Press Office
Transport for London
0343 222 4141

Notes to editors

*TravelWatch Personal Security Report

  • TfL encourages anyone who experiences or witnesses a crime on London Underground or rail modes to report it to the British Transport Police by texting 61016, or via the free Railway Guardian App
  • Customers can also report incidents to members of staff. Customers can report an incident on the bus network at or by calling 101. In an emergency or if the suspect is still on scene, customers should call 999
  • More information on the safety and security in place across TfL's network, including CCTV, Wi-Fi and policing, can be found here: