24-hour CCTV trams watch
METROLINK CCTV cameras will now be monitored 24 hours a day so security teams are ‘always watching’ and can pounce quickly on thugs plaguing the network.
The new measure is among a raft of proposals to combat ongoing antisocial and violent behaviour – behaviour a councillor believes could leave the tram system ‘doomed’. The ongoing problem has also led some councillors to argue transport leaders should go further with ‘two guards on every tram’.
But Bev Hughes, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said the 24-hour control room would send a clear message to offenders. The new strategy also includes: lExtra patrols on the Oldham and Rochdale line where incidents have occurred lMore PCSOs, officers, inspectors and sergeants on the TravelSafe team which guards the network lFaster roll-out of body cameras on security staff lContinuing the bid for new powers to ban thugs from stations and stops lMore school visits to educate on the impact of anti-social behaviour
Meanwhile, councillors have made their strongest plea yet for guards on every tram as well as CCTV. At a Transport for Greater Manchester committee meeting to discuss the Metrolink and rail network, Coun Doreen Dickinson, the Stalybridge South member, called for guards on trams.
Her plea was echoed by a number of councillors, while Roger Jones, member for Irlam and Cadishead, said: “We are not cracking the anti-social behaviour problem. We fought like mad to get Metrolink in Greater Manchester, but if this carries on at the level it is we are doomed. The public will see it’s just not safe and will stop getting on Metrolink at certain times.”
Ms Hughes said: “The new measures send a clear message to those committing crime and anti-social behaviour on our transport network that we are always watching – we can and will respond immediately to apprehend those responsible.” Chief Inspector Colette Rose, from the GMP TravelSafe Partnership, said his team were targeting hotspots and developing a long-term plan to reduce crime through patrols and working with schools.
This follows several months of reports of ‘feral’ teenagers terrorising parts of the Metrolink network, attacking drivers and breaking up infrastructure like ticket machines.
A TfGM spokesman said: “We’ve considered having additional staff on all trams but have no plans to introduce guards. The majority of recent serious incidents have occurred away from trams, which on-tram staff would be unable to attend. Last year operator KeolisAmey Metrolink employed 24 additional security staff to patrol the network, both on trams and at tram stops. This is in addition to 120 Metrolink customer service representatives Police Community Support Officers, and the support we get from Greater Manchester Police.”
●● Councillors ‘fought like mad’ for Metrolink and have vowed to fight as hard to protect it