Crime falls on West Midlands public transport network

Published: 10-05-2012

Crime on and around the West Midlands bus network has fallen by 12 per cent (345 fewer offences) over the last year, figures from the Safer Travel Partnership have revealed.

Offences were also down 12 per cent (341 fewer crimes) on the region’s rail network and by four per cent (eight fewer offences) on the Midland Metro tram system.

The drop means crime on and around the region's bus network has fallen by 65 per cent over the last five years.

Excluding vandalism, this is equivalent to just one offence in every 147,000 bus rides.

A growing intelligence database, much of it built on information supplied by passengers themselves, is also helping to pinpoint crime hotspots and persistent offenders.

Safer Travel figures showed bus crime fell by 15 per cent in Birmingham, 16 per cent in Coventry and 11 per cent across the Black Country last year (April 1st 2011 to March 31st 2012).

Safer Travel, which was launched six years ago, is a joint venture between West Midlands Police, regional transport authority Centro, National Express and British Transport Police and works to make public transport journeys even safer for passengers by deterring crime and anti-social behaviour.

Inspector Gareth Morris of the Safer Travel Police Team, said: "The reductions in levels of crime are great news and the team have had some superb results with arrests and operations to remove criminals from the transport network.

“That said, while crime is down, nuisance behaviour remains a concern for passengers and we are working with operators to identify hotspots and respond appropriately.”

Police operations have involved a range of tactics including high visibility and covert police patrols, special transmitters which "tap" into live bus CCTV systems, the deployment of drugs sniffer dogs to check passengers and the mounting of surveillance at crime hot spots.

Although crime on the network is at its lowest level for more than five years, recent passenger surveys have found that nuisance behaviour such as playing loud music and smoking are key irritants that can also lead to an unfounded fear of crime.

Inspector Morris urged passengers to use the See Something Say Something scheme, where they can send details of anti-social behaviour via text message to 83010.

“This really helps the Safer Travel Partnership carry out the right operations in the right place and at the right time to tackle unacceptable behaviour,”he said.

Centro’s Vice Chairman, Cllr Jon Hunt, added: “The continuing drop in crime on the transport network is very encouraging and these latest figures are a further example of the hard work and success of the Safer Travel Partnership.

“But the travelling public should not have to tolerate anti-social behaviour during their journey and the Safer Travel Partnership is therefore right to concentrate its efforts in this area.

“At the same time passengers can play their part anonymously by using the See Something Say Something system to give the Partnership the vital information it needs.”

The Safer Travel Partnership has also been busy working with schools to raise awareness among pupils about personal safety and the effects of nuisance behaviour and crime.

Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, said: “We take crime and anti-social behaviour on our buses very seriously and as a result of the action we have taken offences have fallen by 65 per cent over the lastfive years.