Aggressive and Violent beggar on Overground today



around 7pm this evening coming home from work There was a beggar on the southbound overground. Asian mid 20’s wearing clean designer looking olive green camo style clothing.
He announced to my carriage “can I have some change I’m starving” when no one offered any he then became quite ‘mouthy’ “Oh none of you have change? no one can spare change can they?”
Then…Alarmingly he turned to a lone man sat near the doors, looked about to punch him by grabbing him and shouted in his face “GIVE ME YOUR F***ING CHANGE!” at which point a lady and a man both intervened telling him to back off…this happened twixt surrey quays and NewXGate. I believe he got off at New X Gate.
I was very shaken by how agressive he was…virtually mugging some helpless guy in daylight on a relatively busy train.
Imagine if it had been late and an empty train.
I reported what had happened to a member of staff at Forest Hill who said “yeah, Asian guy wearing army gear? we know about him he usually gets off New X Gate”
so… whats being done about him?
Blank stares…
I have to come home late at night from work on these trains…I’m actually scared.
I pay £1500 a year to travel to and from work and it appears there is zero security or protection from aggressive violent situations.
Its awful.
I just wanted to flag this as a lone female traveller its shaken me greatly.


I don’t work on the railways and I’m not excusing staff indifference to your complaint but when you think about it policing transient begging on London’s overground system must be next to impossible.


That sounds horrendous. Sorry you had to go through that, and I understand your concern for future travel when the train is less busy.

I’d propose:

  • the Overground ought to operate facial recognition via CCTV to identify beggars and immediately alert the driver, BTP and station staff.
  • regular announcements go out from drivers: “it is illegal to beg on trains. Please do NOT hand money to beggars”
  • trains should be be held at stations until the beggars have got off (the public will be less inclined to sponsor begging if it’s holding up everyone’s commute).
  • if people around you on the train hand over cash, have a quiet word with them.

Related convo: Aggressive Beggar / 'Travelling Poet' on Overground


They do sometimes make announcements on the trains re; beggars but it doesn’t act as a deterrent (I know Im a daily commuter).
The thing that surprised me was the aggressive beggar was known to staff and the man I spoke to actually described him to me but no move was made to radio other stations or BTP.
Also they seemed to know where he gets on and off (funnily enough New X Gate seems to be the chosen station for beggars to get on and off trains…I’ve noticed this) and be aware of his aggressive intimidating modus operendi.
This man was so aggressive and threatening that he really felt like a ticking time bomb.
We have CCTV on trains and at stations if these people are known to staff can’t they alert BTP?
Thank you for your sympathy-I am genuinely shaken by this because I do shift work and often travel at 10.30 and later at night.
whats to stop someone pulling a knife?
In fact a staff member said to me …and I quote " nothing will be done until something bad happens" so If someone gets stabbed I guess then things will change this is just wrong in a supposedly 1st world country.
I don’t expect the station staff to confront these people it actually isn’t their responsibility and I doubt they get paid enough to put their safety in jepoardy.
however we need some form of policing on the trains… perhaps undercover plain clothes?


‭You can text the British Transport Police on ‭61 016‬ if you’re concerned for your safety at any time.


I considered that but didn’t know number…I also thought of videoing him to send to police and btp but didn’t want him to turn on me
thanks for number its in my phone now


I am always puzzled how people who claim to have no money can travel on the trains. It sounds as if they have a method of getting out of New Cross Gate station.


half the time the gates are left open I suspect or they jump the gates?
or maybe get on at unmanned stations.
To me this highlights the need for staff at ALL stations from start to close and guards on trains.
As I mentioned previously I pay £1500 PA for my oyster-
not cheap but all we hear of is cuts of staffing levels which to my mind will just make the overground and suburban train services and stations a crime hotspot.
Zone 1 stations are always well manned but us poor sods who can’t afford to live centrally are the fools who pay through the nose for putting our safety at risk travelling to and from work.


I think the answer lies with the passengers. If no-one gives any money they will stop asking. Unfortunately, they must be getting money from some passengers.

We will probably need to raise the problem with higher authorities.

It happens on buses too.




How absolutely appalling. If the staff know about him, then surely the transport police do as well? Why oh why are they not doing anything?


Can’t do much. Begging probably doesn’t carry jail time. And you can’t stop people jumping the barriers.

Just gotta hope he assaults the wrong person and gets put to sleep by a good standing member of the public. But knowing how soft the police are in the UK they will probably go after the person protecting themselves.


I’ve also complained to London Overground, but to no visible effect. These people undoubtedly have all sorts of personal difficulties but inflicting them on the captive audience that is a train of passengers and getting a few quid here and there is no answer. Overground is popular simply because the carriages are so easy to walk through! Plain clothes BTP to get them served with a banning order. Prison for breach ironically will provide want many need - a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep on, a reliable source of food, somewhere to wash themselves and their attire - and all at our, the taxpayers, expense!


People regularly tailgate others through the barriers at Forest Hill, but it also happens frequently at London Bridge where there is a police presence. It’s annoying that staff do nothing, but in balance, it really isn’t their jobs and I would suspect that they are forbidden from intervening as a condition of their employment.

I expect that there is, however, a strong correlation between violence on the transport network and people who steal travel on it. National Rail, the train operators and the unions are not concerned with your safety; only the transport police are so please keep their number. Also, I expect that the transport police resources are distributed according to their perceived need so the more we report, the greater the likelihood that there will be someone near to do something about it.


It’s a challenge for the BTP, it’s a mixture of lack of officers /resources and some officers indiffer ent attitude due to the reasons mentioned previously, mean that policing it is challenging. It doesn’t help that people give them money. In regards to staff, as I understand it, they aren’t directly employed by tfl but the firm that runs the service. The underground staff can’t physically challenge them so have an app they use to report anti-social behaviour. These scum know that staff can’t touch them at stations or trains either. About the cost of your oyster for the year - the train firms take a chunk of that and they and the govt won’t let tfl freeze the cost of travel cards :disappointed:. Its worth using that text number too - if its reported directly to the BTP, they’ll use the report data to identify a pattern. As for facial recognition, that’s for the police rather than London Overground - GDPR means they couldn’t use it.


Does it cost to text British Transport Police?


I have no idea.


I agree with everything except this as there is a clear case for an exception under Art. 9(2)(g) GDPR. Please don’t take the GDPR moans on this forum as a legal guide to actual facts.


His point was that the GDPR would allow the police to using the facial recognition results, but prevent London Overground using them. I think he’s correct.

Since the GDPR is poorly defined (IMO) I doubt any civil servant would want to risk potentially breaching it. So I suspect the regulation would prevent facial recognition being used in practice.


It’s the collection and retention rather than the use of biometric information that engages the GDPR. The use should be considered as to whether or not there is a legitimate interest to support the collection and retention. There is not a binary answer to the legality of retaining the biometric data unless you know the use.

In reality (and contrary to what I said earlier), I don’t think that it would be legal to retain the information. This is because Souther Rail, for example, would do nothing with it, thus there is no legitimate interest for them to collect and retain the information. If the Transport Police (TP) had a use for the information that was in the public interest then a rail company would have a reason to collect the data and retain the data until a point when it has been transfered to the TP. However, in reality, I doubt that the TP would use the data (they are too busy dealing with actual crimes to have time to proactively address potential crimes), which is why I say that I don’t think that it would be legal to collect and retain the information. It would be legal to collect and retain the biometric information until a legitimate interest has been fulfilled, but in reality there is no legitimate interest. N.B. stockpiling the data in case it is useful in the future is not justifiable either.