TfGM’s crime crackdown
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) says its new unit to crackdown on crime and antisocial behaviour on the bus and tram network has already had a significant impact in its first two months. Under the three year pilot scheme, a 16 strong team comprising of police constables, police community support officers, special constables and security personnel provide regular patrols on the region’s travel networks to tackle and prevent crime and antisocial behaviour. Between its launch on 1 April and 28 May, the Travel Safe Unit provided a presence on 1,652 vehicles. The unit has also made 23 arrests for a variety of offences, issued 1,074 penalty notices and conducted 64 gateway check operations. In addition to this activity, over 1,000 invalid tickets have been identified.
Led by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the scheme uses crime and antisocial behaviour data from Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd (MRDL), FirstBus and Stagecoach to deploy patrols in specific areas at key times to respond to identified demand. Having a dedicated team provides expertise and knowledge that assists in the identification of repeat offenders, while the provision of body-worn cameras, in conjunction with existing public transport CCTV, helps gather evidence for prosecutions. The pilot is also focusing on preventative measures and youth education. Uniformed officers have already visited Manchester Health Academy and are planning further visits to schools across the region to educate youngsters on the dangers, impacts and consequences of crime, antisocial behaviour and fare evasion on public transport. The scheme has been funded for three years but will be subject to formal annual reviews and regular scrutiny by a strategy group made up of members from organisations involved.
TfGM Metrolink Director, Peter Cushing, said, ‘Public transport is a safe way to travel and the purpose of the unit is to help reinforce and maintain that. The initiative is allowing regional public transport operators to work in closer collaboration, sharing intelligence and targeting activity, and I think the results so far show that this is a positive approach.’