Sunday 15 Jun 2003


Region & Route:
| Southern
It’s National Railway Crime Week (June 15 – 22) and Network Rail is urging young people to stay away from railway lines and not treat them as playgrounds or targets for vandalism.  More than 90% of railway crime is committed by young people who risk their lives by using the railway as a play area.  They still use dangerous short cuts, throw stones, place objects on the track and play ‘chicken’ in front of high-speed trains.  Every single act of railway crime has the potential to cause serious harm or even death and can have long-term effects for those involved.  Network Rail works with the British Transport Police, the train operating companies and other industry partners to tackle railway crime head on.  Each year in East Anglia Region we undertake educational and preventative activities, which this year includes: ·        Educational literature sent to every primary and secondary school to reinforce railway safety message ·        Football in the Community – region wide coaching scheme, teaching children about railway safety in a fun, healthy, diversionary environment ·        Dedicated British Transport Police Officer – walking the route, train riding, visiting schools ·        School visits by railway staff – thousands of children visited during school time ·        Crucial Crew events (schools safety awareness days) in Harlow & Basildon - more - RCW – 2 ·        Railway crossing radio campaign – adverts on region’s radio stations throughout school holidays focusing on railway crossing safety ·        Ironworks project – joint initiative between Canning Town local authority and Network Rail, running after-school projects ·        ‘Q train’ (undercover British Transport Police train) on West Anglia and Thameside route during school holidays to deter trespass ·        £2.9 million worth of fencing renewed and upgraded in the last year ·        High profile patrolling of crime hotspots by British Transport Police and Network Rail staff during holiday periods The overall numbers of reported railway crime offences in East Anglia have slightly decreased from 1,306 in 2001 - 2002 to 1,203 in 2002 – 2003.  However, 115 near misses with trespassers have been reported in the last 13 months.  Most trespassers are young people and each one of these incidents could have had more serious consequences: injury or even death.  Therefore the message is still plain and simple – stay away from the railway. Tony Larwood, Network Rail’s Route Crime Manager said:  “We are deeply concerned about the levels of trespass and vandalism on the railway.  What might seem like a bit of childish fun is in reality plain stupidity, and could end up killing someone.  The railway is not a playground and children and adults alike should stay away. “The schools holidays are a key problem time for rail crime.  We are working hard to tackle this issue but I would appeal to local communities and parents to help us in our efforts.  If you see somebody trespassing on or causing damage to the railway please notify the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.  The number is confidential, free of charge and open 24 hrs a day.” - more - RCW – 3 British Transport Police Officers and Network Rail staff respond to hundreds of railway crime incidents each year, allocating sites as hot spot areas.  On many occasions they successfully detain children ‘caught in the act’.  A summary of specific hotspot areas and events are detailed below: Area Hot spot areas Problem Specific events Norwich area Trowse Lakenheath Oulton Broad North Stone throwing Trespass Stone throwing A 10 and 11 year old were caught throwing stones in the Brundall area.  They both received reprimands. Two 19-year-olds were charged with criminal damage (graffiti) in Norwich. They are awaiting sentence. Carriage window broken Ipswich Area River Gipping area Ipswich Station, North side Felixstowe Colchester Trespass Stone throwing, trespass Stone throwing and ballast on line Stone throwing Bury St Edmunds six 13/14 year-olds rolling tyres onto the track.  Reprimanded.  Romford/ Southend Wickford Burnham on Crouch Shenfield Southend Prittlewell Stone throwing/trespass Stone throwing Trespassing Ballast placed on line Trespass Train window smashed by rifle shot Three 16 year-olds caught on track at Wickford,  awaiting sentence. Kids surfing on back of train Cambridge Chesterton Junction Ely North Junction Trespass and stone throwing Trespass Chesterton Junction main problem during school holidays.  Children throwing stones and general trespass. c2c route West Ham Pitsea, Basildon, Chafford Hundred Tilbury West Thurrock Throwing objects at trains Trespass, items placed on the line, stone throwing Stone throwing Trespass Two cab windows broken in last few weeks Carriage window damaged Retrieving lost ball by track Bethnal Green to Harlow Southbury Cheshunt Broxbourne Enfield Lock White Hart Lane Edmonton Green Turkey Street Stone throwing Playing too near line Trespass Stone throwing Young children placing ballast on line Trespass Trespass Trespass Item struck carriage and smashed window Kite caught in overhead lines Six teenagers caught trespassing, 5 reprimanded further action on one other Carriage window smashed Children taking short cut Teenagers apprehended taking short cut Children caught retrieving football from track – further action being considered

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