Tuesday 16 Nov 2004

A NEW WAY TO REDUCE RAILWAY CRIME

Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
Representatives from Network Rail travelled to London last week to support the Annual Youth Justice Conference for the first time, with the aim of reducing railway crime. External Liaison Officers, who implement Network Rail’s educational programme, met with various agencies including youth offending teams, magistrates and community groups with the aim of encouraging closer working with young offenders who commit railway crime. Ian Chapman, National External Liaison Manager, said: “Through more proactive working with local youth offending teams and similar community groups, we hope to reach youngsters most at risk of becoming involved in railway crime activities.  “We recognise that it will take time to change the culture of youths involved in this, but by forging closer links in this way we’re optimistic we can make a real difference in our worst route crime hotspots.” Railway crime is more than just ticket fiddling. Each year thousands of objects are placed on the track in front of oncoming trains. Some of these objects are placed there by children ‘to see what happens’ but research has shown there will be a progression to larger objects such as gas canisters, concrete blocks and scaffolding, which have the potential to cause a derailment.  Research has also shown that trespass on the railway is often a pre-cursor to more sinister activity, like throwing objects at trains and it is estimated that railway crime costs the industry over £250 million a year. Kylie Sheppard, External Liaison Officer (Wales and the West Country), said: “Network Rail’s stand at the conference sparked a great deal of interest, with people keen to know how the company can become more closely involved with local community activities in hotspot areas.  “Network Rail took away a lot of positive feedback from the experience.”

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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