Monday 16 Jun 2003
WEEK-LONG CAMPAIGN PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON RAIL CRIME
- Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western
Wales & Western
Cut crime on the railways - that is the message being given as part of a campaign by Network Rail and partners of the National Route Crime Group to draw attention to railway crime.
Every primary and secondary school in (insert county) has been targeted by the rail industry as part of the second annual National Railway Crime Week (June 15 –22).
With more than 90 per cent of railway crime being committed by young people, schools across the (insert county) are being asked to help reinforce the railway safety message next week, which coincides with national child safety week.
With more than 6,500 crimes committed on the railway each year at a cost to the industry of more than £150 million, the problem is one of the key challenges facing the railway network and lineside communities.
Network Rail has introduced a team of dedicated community liaison officers who target local crime hotspots with a rail safety message, just one of the weapons in the railway crime armoury.
A series of measures are being taken in the region to tie in with the National Railway Crime Week:
· Sport in the community events for young people in hotspot areas
· The launch of British Transport Police rapid response motorcycle patrols
· Station poster campaigns and awareness days
· Junior citizen presentations
· Leaflet drops
Railway crime costs the industry some £150 million a year causing some 13,000 hours delay to trains. More than half of all reportable train accidents are caused by vandalism.
Margaret Barker, Network Rail’s route crime risk manager, said: “Action is being taken throughout the year to tackle the problem of railway crime, the majority of which is perpetrated by young people. By holding a second annual National Railway Crime Week we get the chance to highlight this problem and ask members of the public to help us combat it – either by reporting incidents to the British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or by thinking twice before they do something themselves, such as trespassing on the track.”
Lew Adams, Chair of the industry’s National Route Crime Group says: “For years the industry has battled against the problem, often with excellent local results, but the issue remains a major threat to the future of railway safety. The activity in the past year has begun to see results but we cannot afford to slow our efforts. But this is not just a problem for the railway industry but society at large and we must continue to work together.”
Chief Superintendent Peter Edwards of the British Transport Police and a member of the national route crime group adds: “Tackling route crime has got to be at the top of our list of policing priorities. In recent years a number of well-reported tragic incidents such as Ladbroke Grove and Hatfield have rightly raised public concern about safe travel on the railways. But these were exceptional events. In fact I believe we should be equally or even more concerned about the threat to rail safety posed by crime.
“Such crimes are a daily occurrence on Britain’s railways and I find it remarkable that they do not grab the headlines in the same way as the recent incident on a motorway where two young girls were throwing items from a bridge onto passing motorists. There are hundreds of similar incidents every week on Britain’s railways.”
The industry’s National Route Crime Group is made up of key representatives from passenger and freight operators, Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB), the Health and Safety Executive, British Transport Police, Network Rail, infrastructure contractors, the Rail Passengers Council and the Strategic Rail Authority.
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