Monday 4 Aug 2008
SOUTHAMPTON GETS THE NO MESSIN' MESSAGE
Thousands of young people packed Hoglands Park this Saturday (2 August) as Network Rail’s No Messin’ campaign teamed up with the K2 Urban Youth Festival and BBC Blast to provide a range of free activities, including rock climbing, football, skateboarding and abseiling to keep kids off the tracks and safe this summer.
Provided by Network Rail, the award winning No Messin' campaign aims to prevent crime and save lives on the railway. It gives young people the opportunity to try something different and maybe find a new interest - away from messing around on or near railway lines.
Network Rail has identified around 500 recorded incidents of rail crime in Hampshire in 2007, with the top five “hotspots” at Basingstoke, Cosham, Eastleigh, Farnborough and Fratton. It is estimated that the true figure for the region is much higher, as many instances of rail crime go unreported.
Esther Bacon, Network Rail’s Community Safety Manager for the region said: "Sadly the combination of good weather and school holidays always results in an increase of trespass and vandalism on the railways by young people.
“We're really pleased that so many turned out for the event as Hampshire is a hotspot for rail crime – just that morning we had a train hit a bike that someone had left on the line at Cosham, which caused quite a bit of damage – thankfully no one was hurt.
“Hundreds of young people came along to No Messin’ Live trying activities that maybe they have never done before such as abseiling. They also watched our drama show about a boy who is paralysed after getting hit by a train after taking a short cut. We hope that the message about how dangerous the railways can be has got through, as well as giving them ideas of better ways to spend their time. Ultimately it’s all about saving lives.”
Notes to editorsVisit www.no-messin.com RAIL CRIME – THE FACTS Railway crime is a serious and ongoing problem for the rail industry with up to 60 people losing their lives each year by taking short cuts or messing around on the tracks and costing the industry over £250 million a year. In the last five years: - One in four accidental fatalities was of someone aged eight to 18 - Half of all near misses involved children. With the majority of trespass incidents involving adults, this is quite worrying. It seems as if whilst adults are taking short cuts, children are taking chances The Dangers - Did You Know…? - In Hampshire, trains are powered by the ‘third rail’. It carries 750 volts of electricity and is never switched off. Touching the rail will almost certainly result in death or serious injury. - In other areas of the rail network it takes up to 25,000 volts of electricity to power trains through the overhead lines. It’s always switched on and can even jump through the air to get to you. If you get too close it can kill – you don’t even have to touch anything to get killed! - Trains travel at up to 125mph and can take the length of 20 football pitches to stop! If you get hit by a train, there will only be one winner - Trains can travel the length of 20 football pitches in just 7 seconds The Crime - Examples of railway crime include trespassing by running across the tracks or taking short cuts, throwing objects, placing debris on the line, interfering with level crossing barriers and equipment, breaking telephones and of course, graffiti, which is the fastest growing type of offence. The Penalties - Trespassing on the railway is a criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £1,000. A child of 10 years or older in England and Wales can be prosecuted by the police. A child of 12 years or older can be sent to a residential care unit. - Putting objects on the tracks (like rocks or shopping trolleys) could cause a train accident which may hurt or kill other people. If you do this, then you can be prosecuted by the police. The maximum penalty for causing a train accident is life imprisonment. If a child is charged with causing a train accident, then a parent/guardian may be prosecuted by the police too. - Graffiti is also a serious crime which can result in a prison sentence. If you are caught trespassing or vandalising on the railway, then you will be prosecuted by the police. More Key Facts - Trespass: apart from suicide, trespass is the largest source of risk on the railway - Vandalism: evidence suggests that a small number of graffiti vandals or “taggers” are responsible for the vast majority of graffiti in a particular area. Graffiti vandals put themselves in grave danger by scaling walls and fences and trespassing onto the railway - Railway crime patterns: both trespass and vandalism trends show a strong seasonal cycle with a peak between March and September – when the evenings get lighter and children are not in school. Award No Messin’ recently won the prestigious Business in the Community BUPA Healthy Communities Award. The award, which is supported by the Department of Health and known as the 'Big Tick', recognises companies that work with voluntary and public sectors to improve the health and well-being of UK communities.
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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.
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