The Death of Belly Mujinga

Whilst it is important our transport system continues to function throughout this pandemic, it is also absolutely essential we keep all our transport staff safe. I was saddened to hear of the death of Belly Mujinga, and my thoughts are with her family and loves ones who mourn her death.

Guidance has been issued to transport operators to help them identify and address risks to their staff as the lockdown eases. For example, the guidance encourages operators to carry out risk assessments, set out clear rules on interacting with passengers, re-deploy clinically vulnerable people into roles where the risk is lower, support staff to wear face coverings safely and use screens to create a physical barrier at places such as ticket offices. In addition, operators should put in place protocols to ensure that both public and private areas and vehicles are kept clean to stop transmission of coronavirus through people touching contaminated surfaces. Buttons, handrails, vehicle keys and other touch points should be subject to increased cleaning.

The guidance outlines that transport staff should wash their hands thoroughly and frequently and operators should maintain sufficient supplies of hand sanitiser, including for those working away from hand washing facilities.

Guidance for passengers also makes clear to those who have to make essential journeys they should consider all other transport options before deciding to take public transport. Passengers have also been advised to avoid using public transport during rush hour, as well as to stay a distance of two metres from others, wash or sanitise their hands and catch coughs or sneezes with tissues. People should not be using public transport at all if they have symptoms of coronavirus or if they or anyone in their household is self-isolating.

The British Transport Police investigated the tragic death of Belly Mujinga. Their statement outlined the investigation they conducted was based on key witness statements and CCTV footage which lead them to the conclusions they reached. They outlined that Mrs Mujinga’s family were kept informed throughout the entire investigation, and specialist officers continue to support them through this incredibly difficult time. It is my understanding however that in response to an online petition, the British Transport Police have invited the Crown Prosecution Service to conduct an independent review the situation.