Number of people risking their lives trespassing in the South West hits five-year-high: Trespassing is on the increase in the South West

Thursday 13 Apr 2017

Number of people risking their lives trespassing in the South West hits five-year-high

Route:
Western

Across Britain, one person trespasses on the railway every hour, putting their lives in danger and in the South West the figures are at an all-time high.

Alarming new figures from Network Rail and British Transport Police reveal more people than ever are risking their lives on the rail network by trespassing on the tracks in the South West with Bristol, Gloucester, Swindon and Truro seeing up to a 100% increase since 2012.

The data, which looks at trends over the last five years, shows trespass incidents are at all-time high in the region, while nationally one person trespasses and dices with death every hour.

Last year alone there were around 553 incidents where people risked their lives on the rail network in the South West – a rise of 14 per cent compared to last year.

Research also shows young people are more likely to take a risk on the tracks, with seasonal peaks in incidents coinciding with the spring and summer school holidays.

Steve Melanophy, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “Every April we see a huge rise in the number of people taking a risk on the rail network and it’s worrying that these numbers seem to be going up. Britain has the safest railway in Europe but still too many people lose their lives on the tracks. The dangers may not always be obvious but the electricity on the railway is always on and trains can travel up to 125 miles per hour, so even if they see you, they can’t stop in time.

“As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers. It may seem harmless to take a shortcut, or fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also very dangerous. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”

In response to the seasonal surge in incidents and to tackle the problem of youth trespass, Network Rail and BTP have jointly launched a schools engagement programme, which aims to teach children in trespass hotspots about railway safety. Additionally, the ‘Tackling Track Safety’ programme will be rolled-out to more than 100 schools across Britain, using sport to educate children about the dangers across the network.

In 2016, 32 children were caught trespassing by police in the region, with boys aged 14 to 16 being stopped the most[i].

Insp Paul Martin from BTP in the South West said: “We believe the number of children we encounter trespassing every year is sadly, just the tip of the iceberg.

“Every single day we are called to the tracks because a train driver has had to sound their horn or apply their emergency brake In a desperate bid to avoid youths on the line, who then run off, seemingly unaware of the danger they have put themselves in.

“We continue to do all we can to keep youngsters safe by patrolling areas where we know they’re likely to trespass and prevent them from doing so.

“However, we cover thousands of miles of track and we cannot tackle this issue alone. That is why we are urging parents and young people to heed this warning and take a reality check when it comes to trespass. It’s not a game: they are real tracks, with real trains and real-life consequences.”

New figures also highlight that youth trespass is more prevalent in areas where there is higher socio-economic deprivation. To help tackle this Network Rail has also joined forces with children’s charity Barnardo’s to deliver safety education in specific areas of need and where trespass rates are high. The organisation will be raising money for the charity and encouraging their staff to volunteer and help deliver these safety events.

To find out how to keep your children safe on the railway this summer visit http://www.networkrail.co.uk/safety-education/information-for-parents/

http://www.btp.police.uk/advice_and_information/tackling_crime/trespass.aspx

ENDS

Number of trespass incidents in the South West in the last five years (calendar years) as below. Unfortunately, we are unable to breakdown these stats any further into specific counties or towns. Please see map attached with this release for corresponding areas:

South West

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Bristol

213

180

173

183

225

Exeter

71

55

54

55

64

Gloucester

102

98

82

125

143

Plymouth

38

19

30

41

40

Swindon

38

26

36

51

47

Truro

17

34

29

30

34

Totals

479

412

404

485

553

 

Number of young people under the age of 18 who came to the attention of BTP in 2016 while trespassing, by region and county.

South West

 

Wiltshire

10

Gloucestershire

6

Cornwall

4

Devon

7

Bristol

3

Somerset

2

TOTAL

32

 

Number of trespass incidents in England, Scotland and Wales in the last five years (calendar years):

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Total

6,655

6,689

6,645

7,452

8265

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Journalists
Network Rail press office -Western route
01793 389749
MediaRelationsWestern@networkrail.co.uk

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