IN the 1919 Magazine for August, the headline story is: “Rail staff find themselves on the wrong side of the tracks.”

The report tells us: “A survey of staff across the UK is expected to be published later this year with full details of the findings. But British Transport Police (BTP) board papers have revealed, of the 62 ScotRail staff who responded, just 10 said they felt safe at work.

“And in a further blow, 88.7% said they were not confident in the BTP’s ability to keep them safe while on trains or in stations.

“LibDem justice spokesperson Liam McArthur said: ‘No-one should go to work and feel unsafe or as if they are at risk of violence.

‘These initial findings highlight real concerns about staff’s faith in the ability of the BTP to keep them safe.

‘I hope these interviews will be carefully analysed to determine where risks lie and what can be done to improve working conditions.’”

The National: Liam McArthur

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There is no balancing comment from a Scottish Government representative, only these statements from the fifth-largest party in Scotland.

All media outlets have a reputation to uphold and a responsibility to inform accurately. This report, however, is likely to increase anxiety among rail workers and travellers on the basis of quite inadequate evidence.

ScotRail has more than 5000 staff. The 62 who responded represent only just over 1% – one in a hundred – and, even at that level, represent what researchers call a “squeaky wheel” sample, not a scientific sample, and thus not necessarily representative of the wider population.

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Working out 88.7% from a sample of just 62, out of more than 5000, is frankly ridiculous.

It is very important that readers are made aware of the facts of violent crime in Scotland. Based on official statistics, crimes of violence fell last year and at 52.4 per 1000, are at only just over half the level in England and Wales, of 92.6 per 1000.

It is really unacceptable that any media outlet, especially one with an otherwise good record, should allow partisan comments, by a trade union and an opposition politician, to make inaccurate and decontextualised claims unchecked and unchallenged.