TfL backs active bystander training to help empower Londoners to take a stand against hate crime

18 October 2023
"Whether it's an inappropriate comment in the workplace, harassment on the Tube, or a physical assault in the street, we know that most people want to stand up and do something when they witness hate and to help protect the victim"
  • Hundreds of places for active bystander training with charity Protection Approaches made possible thanks to TfL funding
  • Training builds on TfL's hate crime and active bystander campaigns launched earlier this year
  • **63 per cent of Londoners want to be more confident to take action when they encounter hate crime and free training will give them the right skills

Transport for London (TfL) is funding hundreds of places on free training sessions to empower people to take action to prevent or reduce harm when they encounter hate crime, as the UK marks National Hate Crime Awareness Week. It builds on TfL's campaigns highlighting the important role fellow passengers can play in preventing and deescalating incidents, and supporting those being targeted.

Throughout National Hate Crime Awareness Week (14-21 October), TfL will support the police to run a series of events across the transport network, to raise awareness of hate crime and reassure those who may lack confidence to travel on public transport. TfL is also sponsoring popular podcasts My Time Capsule and Upfront to look at why tackling hate crime and staff abuse is so important, reiterating TfL's zero-tolerance stance.

Hundreds of places are also being offered to people living in London to take part in Active Bystander Awareness training, developed and delivered by charity Protection Approaches and their partners Britain's East and South East Asian Network (besea.n). With the course partly funded by the Mayor's Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC), TfL has contributed to this funding to expand the reach of the training to more Londoners, as part of its work to tackle hate crime.

A hate crime is any crime perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity. The transport watchdog's Personal Security report, 2021, shows that 63 per cent of passengers would feel more confident in intervening in an incident on public transport if they had more information on how to help.[1]

The half-day active bystander training course is aimed at all Londoners and requires no previous knowledge, experience or training. Delivered virtually or in London on a series of dates between November and January*, the discussion-based training explores what it means to be an active bystander or ally, how to safely stand up for victims and what people can do if they are the victim. More than 2,000 Londoners have already benefitted from the training, with participants giving consistently positive feedback and reporting increased confidence in dealing with hate crime incidents.

TfL continues to take a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of abuse on its network and funds more than 2,500 officers across the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), British Transport Police (BTP) and the City of London Police (CoLP) to tackle crime and make people feel safer when travelling.

London's Deputy Mayor for Transport, Seb Dance, said: "The Mayor and I want everyone to be safe at all times when travelling around London. Everyone has the right to use public transport without fear of abuse and TfL takes a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of hate crime. Sadly, over recent days the increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crime has reminded us there is always work to do. Today, the Mayor and I are 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 support victims 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 I'm pleased TfL is supporting police to run a series of events across the transport network to raise awareness of hate crime and reassure those who may lack confidence on public transport.  Together we can build a better, safer London for everyone."

Siwan Hayward, TfL's Director of Security, Policing and Enforcement, said: "No one should ever face abuse or discrimination for who they are. We won't tolerate this behaviour on public transport which is why tackling hate crime is a priority for us and our transport policing partners. Over the course of National Hate Crime Awareness Week we are out and about on London's transport network with our police partners to raise awareness of hate crime and its impact, the importance of reporting and calling on Londoners to be active bystanders to support each other. And just as our transport network is for everyone, so is this excellent active bystander training with Protection Approaches - I'd encourage anyone who is keen to find out how to help themselves and others to sign up."

A/Detective Superintendent Ross Morrell, from the Met said: "National Hate Crime Awareness Week reminds us that we must stand together against all forms of hatred and prejudice.  We will not tolerate any forms of hate crime and we will do everything possible to work with our partners and bring offenders to justice. 

"Diversity is one of London's greatest strengths and we want everyone to feel safe and protected. Hate crimes often traumatise whole communities and we would encourage anyone who is a victim of hate crime to report it to police." 

Andy Fearn, Co-Executive Director of Protection Approaches, said: "Whether it's an inappropriate comment in the workplace, harassment on the Tube, or a physical assault in the street, we know that most people want to stand up and do something when they witness hate and to help protect the victim. Yet most don't because they're unsure how to do so safely and in ways that ensure the best outcomes for victims. Our Active Bystander training is proven to help people feel more confident and equipped to act. We're delighted to be partnering with TfL and to be providing this training for its passengers. Together, this work will make London that little bit safer."

The free half-day active bystander training courses are now available to book here.

Notes to editors

*Virtual sessions will take place on the 6, 8, 20, 22 and 29 November, 4, 7, 11 and 13 December and there will be one in-person session in central London on the 8 January

** London Travelwatch report

  • Protection Approaches is the only UK charity working to tackle all forms of identity-based violence and mass atrocities. For more information about the training and to book a place, visit:
  • 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. For more information on hate crime visit
  • Insert list of events, which is not currently complete
  • These are ways in which you can help if you witness someone being harassed or made to feel uncomfortable on the transport network. You don't need to have been targeted yourself to report it to a member of staff or to the police. Reporting is important but there are other things you can do to support fellow passengers. We encourage people to look out for and support one another if something doesn't feel right. Ways to support a fellow passenger who is being harassed, if it is safe to do so
  • Distract with a question: If you feel confident and safe to do so, you could speak to the person being targeted, ignoring the perpetrator. Asking a small question such as 'do you have the time?' or 'what's the next stop?', can provide a distraction and help to defuse the situation
  • Make a note: Make a note of what is happening, where you are (what line, station, bus number or tube/train carriage number), what time it is, what the perpetrator looks like, what they're wearing and any other important details. Reporting what you witness helps with the investigation and can stop it happening to someone else. Use these details to report what's happened. For Tube and rail, text British Transport Police on 61016 or using the Guardian Railway app. On buses call the Metropolitan Police on 101 or online at
  • Make sure they are OK: Following an incident, checking in with the person who has been targeted is a powerful thing to do. Assure them that what happened isn't okay, see if there's anything you can do to help and let them know that you will report the incident too. This can make them feel less isolated and more confident to report it themselves
  • You can also speak to a member of TfL staff for help. Directly challenging the offender about their behaviour is risky and you need to assess the situation very carefully before speaking up. Avoid putting yourself in harm's way. The interventions above can be a more effective and safer way to help