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Demand for stronger protections for bus drivers after death of Stagecoach worker in Elgin

There have been repeated concerns about anti-social behaviour at Elgin bus station in recent years.

Buses parked at Elgin bus station.
Worries have been growing at Elgin bus station for several years. Image: David Mackay/DC Thomson

Stronger protection for bus drivers has been demanded following the death of Stagecoach worker Keith Rollinson in Elgin.

The 53-year-old died at work following reports of an assault at the town’s bus station with a 15-year-old later charged in connection with the incident.

Mr Rollinson’s tragic death comes just months after the building was described as a “no go area” on Friday and Saturday nights due to anti-social behaviour concerns.

Stagecoach operations manager Jack Wright said last year worries had led to personnel not coming into work.

Now union Unite is calling for stronger protections for bus drivers, revealing that confrontations are happening across the country, including in Elgin, on a “daily basis”.

‘Intolerable occupational hazard’

Worries about anti-social behaviour surrounding Elgin bus station has been growing in recent years.

Mr Wright described the situation as a “really big problem” in October last year with police pledging to step up patrols.

Four teenagers, three aged 14 and one aged 13, were charged in August 2022 after a bus driver was assaulted in Keith.

Profile photo of Keith Rollinson.
Keith Rollinson died after an incident at Elgin bus station on Friday evening.

And a 15-year-old boy was charged after a fire was started in Poundland in Elgin, which is only yards away from the bus station, in the same month.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said Mr Rollinson’s death had “shaken the union to its core”.

She said: “We want to express our deep and sincere condolences to Mr Rollinson’s family at this unbearably difficult time.”

“The stark reality is that bus drivers regularly and routinely confront dangerous incidents.

Flowers at Elgin bus station.
Flowers cover a bench at Elgin bus station. Image: David Mackay/DC Thomson

“It has become an intolerable occupational hazard for bus drivers on a daily basis, especially for those working late at night and in remote areas.

“Any abuse of workers is entirely unacceptable and Unite will continue to do everything possible to ensure that proper measures are in place to protect workers.”

Tougher legislation demanded to protect bus drivers

Unite has repeated calls for legislation to be introduced to make it a specific offence to assault, threaten or abuse transport workers.

Current laws only cover crimes committed against emergency services while carrying out their duties.

Unite’s Scottish secretary Derek Thomson said: “We need legislation which provides stronger statutory protection for transport workers, which is fully enforced.

Elgin bus station.
People have been laying tributes at Elgin bus station. Image: Jasperimage

“Unite is committed to make this a reality in the interests of thousands of workers who urgently need protection.

The Scottish government must act to ensure that transport workers are properly protected and Unite will ensure that ministers introduce the necessary measures.”

Unite says it is gathering evidence showing that transport workers, including taxi and bus drivers, are particularly vulnerable to assault and robbery.

It has received reports of drivers being “traumatised” after incidents.

Those working late at night and in rural locations are said to be particularly vulnerable.

‘Gentle and caring, with a wicked sense of humour’: Colleague of Elgin bus driver pays tribute

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