Greater Manchester’s transport networks have been bolstered with the addition of new Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
The 10 officers have today joined the ranks of the region’s TravelSafe Partnership (TSP), a multi-agency approach set up to tackle and reduce crime and antisocial behaviour (ASB) on the region’s bus and tram networks. The new officers will provide an increased staff presence on the networks, particularly in the evening and at weekends.
This is the latest move to enhance the TSP and brings the total of new PCSOs that have joined the unit since the summer to 30, with a further 20 set to join over the coming months. In the summer, the Metrolink operator KeolisAmey Metrolink introduced 900 hours per week of additional security support onto the tram network when they took over the running of the UK’s largest light rail system. This equated to 24 new TravelSafe Officers (TSOs) who are Security Industry Authority accredited.
Deputy mayor for policing and crime, Beverley Hughes, says: “We promised to prioritise a greater staffing presence on the transport networks, particularly in the evenings and on weekends, and the addition of these extra officers will complement the excellent work already being undertaken to keep the networks as safe as possible.
“The continuing expansion of the team should send out two clear messages: that anybody using Greater Manchester’s transport network should feel safe and secure and that antisocial behaviour will never be tolerated.”
Chief Inspector Tariq Butt, who leads the partnership for GMP, says: “We’re pleased to welcome additional officers to the TSP, which will allow us to deal with crime and antisocial behaviour more effectively. The safety of commuters and transport staff remains paramount and, over the past few months, we’ve been proactively patrolling the network to provide reassurance to passengers and target those causing misery.
“Aside from continuing to deter crime and antisocial behaviour, the additional officers will allow us to deliver more inputs to local schools about the dangers and consequences of being involved in antisocial behaviour and crime.”
A recent two-week crime crackdown by the partnership – that included covert and overt patrols and operations – resulted in 56 arrests, 494 fines issued, 11 missing people being located, use of specialist police units to deter crime and ASB and recovery of outstanding fines from people previously caught travelling without a ticket.
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director at Stagecoach Manchester, says: “The safety of our customers and staff is our number one priority and while instances of crime and antisocial behaviour on our buses continue to be low these additional officers will support the work of the team to provide a reassuring presence. The TravelSafe partnership also ensures we have a joined up approach between all the public transport operators in the region enabling us to benefit from shared intelligence and to target known hotspots.”
Adrian Worsfold, operations director at First Manchester, says: “The safety of our customers and staff is of the utmost importance and as a result of the TravelSafe Partnership we have already seen the positive impact that the presence of security officers can bring to our services, as we work together to reduce antisocial behaviour. We will continue to support this partnership to ensure that bus travel continues to offer a safe mode of transport for customers across the region.”
The TSP uses intelligence and crime and ASB data from contributing operators to help target patrols in the necessary areas at key times. As well as undertaking dedicated and intelligence-led operations, the TSP will continue its programme of engagement with the community to tackle and understand the issues and root causes of ASB – which impacts public transport as much as anything else where it is prevalent.