CRACKDOWN ON THE TRAM YOBS
aLL Metrolink inspectors will wear a body camera to record live footage as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.
There have been scores of violent incidents at stations and on trams in recent months – and countless cases of hooligans intimidating people and vandals on the lines.
It is hoped the latest move will stamp out thuggish behaviour and keep commuters safe.
The new measures are aimed at reassuring passengers, sending a clear message to would-be criminals and slashing crime and antisocial behaviour on the beleaguered networks.
The resulting footage will be usable in criminal investigations and provide evidence for prosecution.
Transport bosses are also rolling out new high visibility digital signs warning troublemakers they are being filmed on CCTV.
The body cameras are already worn by Metrolink’s TravelSafe officers – the security team dedicated to the network.
But now every passenger-facing staff member will follow suit, said KeolisAmey, the Metrolink operator. All customer service reps – who check tickets, help commuters get around and make sure the network is safe – will get a camera.
The Metrolink network has been attacked 1,200 times in the two years to January 2018 - see page 8.
Yobs have hurled missiles, vandalised trams and stops, committed arson, smashed windows and harassed and assaulted staff – at times causing serious injury.
The shocking number of incidents has prompted calls from councillors for full-time guards on trams.
But Metrolink bosses say there is no evidence that would be effective – and have instead introduced a raft of measures, including the new bodycams.
The footage will also help them stop fare-dodgers and care for customers.
The new signage, meanwhile, will remind passengers there are 2,000 cameras on trams, stops, at park and ride sites and cycle hubs – and in the depots.
The signs are portable and will be used to target hotspot areas – like Oldham, Rochdale and the Airport line – and complement the work done by security staff.
Chris Jackson, service delivery director at KAM, said research showed bodycams promote confidence and provide back-up in con- frontational situations. He said the knowledge of being filmed ‘moderates behaviour’ and can de-escalate situations.
They are also continuing their work with schools and other organisations to tackle the ‘root cause’ of the problem.
Bev Hughes, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said it was important for people to travel without being intimidated or feeling concerned about the behaviour of others.
She said the measures sent the message to criminals or those behind antisocial behaviour that they were ‘always watching’.
“Public transport is a safe way to travel and tactics such as this, which further boost safety and security, help us to reinforce and maintain that,” she added.
The new roll-out follows the expansion of the TfGM control room to run 24/7. The centre, located at TfGM headquarters at 2 Piccadilly Place in Manchester city centre, has access to CCTV footage from the Greater Manchester road and Metrolink networks.
●● Tram staff will wear bodycams similar to this