Travelsafe Unit to launch half-term clampdown

Date published: 12 February 2016

The Greater Manchester Travelsafe Unit (TSU) will be clamping down on antisocial behaviour on buses and trams across the region next week.

Set up in April 2015 to make the transport networks even safer by visibly patrolling and tackling problems, the unit will be increasing their patrols and using body worn cameras, existing CCTV and shared intelligence to identify and prosecute offenders.

The clampdown has been planned to coincide with the February half-term school holidays, a time when youth-related antisocial behaviour in particular tends to increase.

Over the last two weekends, the TSU has run 11 operations on the Rochdale and Ashton-under-Lyne via Oldham Metrolink lines in response to complaints about antisocial behaviour. These operations have proved successful with numerous penalty notices issued for ticketing offences.

The unit has dispersed groups of youths that were causing problems at stops, seized and disposed of alcohol from those caught underage drinking and have used body worn cameras to identify repeat offenders and visit their homes.

On Friday 29 January, an 18-year-old was arrested by a TSU officer on suspicion of criminal damage to a tram. He was bailed until 2 March 2016 and ordered not to use the Metrolink system.

TfGM’s Metrolink Director, Peter Cushing, said: “Public transport is a safe way to travel and, as the success of their recent work shows; the TSU is helping to reinforce and maintain that.

“The school holidays are traditionally a time when antisocial behaviour tends to increase so we will be increasing patrols next week to not only discourage antisocial behaviour and criminal activity, but also to respond quickly and robustly when incidents do occur.”

Launched on 1 April as a three-year pilot scheme, the Travelsafe Unit comprises of a team of police constables, police community support officers, special constables and security personnel.

Led by TfGM and Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the scheme allows contributing operators – Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd (MRDL), First Bus and Stagecoach – to share intelligence as well as crime and antisocial behaviour data.

The pilot is also focusing on preventative measures and youth education. Uniformed officers visit schools across the region to educate youngsters on the dangers, impacts and consequences of crime, antisocial behaviour and fare evasion on public transport.

The scheme has been funded for three years but will be subject to formal annual reviews and regular scrutiny by a strategy group made up of members from organisations involved.

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