Safety personnel to stamp out anti-social behaviour
Front-line safety personnel will be rolled out on public transport in four English areas to help stamp out anti-social behaviour on buses, trains and trams.
The new TSOs will patrol targeted routes and locations, working in co-ordination with local police forces and the British Transport Police. The officers will work to improve safety with an emphasis on engagement and education, however, they will also hold the power to issue fixed penalty notices in response to certain antisocial behaviour.
Following the successful implementation of a TSO scheme by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), £2.5 million in funding from the DfT will see TSOs deployed in: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; Lancashire; Stoke-on-Trent; and Thurrock. The pilots will allow local authorities to develop and implement approaches that react directly to the specific needs of their local area.
This follows the recent allocation of £150 million to improve bus services in the North and Midlands, the first tranche of £1 billion of new funding, redirected from High Speed 2 (HS2) as part of Network North.
“The pilot will also give us a greater understanding of what works when it comes to tackling antisocial behaviour” – Transport Minister, Richard Holden
Transport Minister, Richard Holden, said: “Anti-social behaviour is completely unacceptable – I want to see it eradicated from our public transport.
“As part of the government’s anti-social behaviour action plan, these new specially trained officers will help drive offenders off local networks, so that people can travel on their local train, tram and bus with peace of mind.
“The pilot will also give us a greater understanding of what works when it comes to tackling antisocial behaviour, enabling us to continue improving journeys for passengers in the future.”
Additionally, Arriva has welcomed a dedicated team of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) assigned to the bus network in West Yorkshire. A team of 15 full-time PCSOs will patrol bus stations and buses across the county. The Safer Travel PCSOs aim to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, increase the safety of women and girls, and reassure and protect more vulnerable travel users.
The team is overseen by a Police Sergeant and supported by the local authorities, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and bus operators, including Arriva.
TfWM is to receive funding to expand its own TSO scheme, recruiting officers specifically trained and dedicated to tackling incidents involving women’s safety, helping to make women and girls feel safer when travelling on public transport. The measure is part of a wider government strategy to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG), in answer to the recommendations as set out by the VAWG Transport Champions, Laura Shoaf and Anne Shaw.