THUGS AT­TACK TRAMS ONCE A DAY

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Sam Yar­wood

YOBS have at­tacked the Metrolink net­work nearly 1,200 times over two years. They have hurled mis- siles, van­dalised trams and stops, com­mit­ted ar­son, smashed win­dows and ha­rassed and as­saulted staff – at times caus­ing se­ri­ous in­jury.

New data, ob­tained by our sis­ter pa­per, the M.E.N. via a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest, re­veals the true scale of the prob­lems on the net­work. In the two years to Jan­u­ary 2018, TfGM recorded 1,183 van­dal­ism in­ci­dents in­volv­ing its trams, tracks, stops and ticket ma­chines – an average of 1.5 a day.

It re­veals the worst-hit stops are: St Wer­burgh’s Road on the Air­port/East Dids­bury line in Chorl­ton (63); Martin­scroft on the Air­port line on Hol­ly­hedge Road in Wythen­shawe (40); and Derker on the Old­ham/Rochdale line be­tween Jan­u­ary 2016 and March 28 2018.

Dur­ing that time there were 319 recorded in­ci­dents on the Old­ham and Rochdale Line with Mon­sall, Shaw and Cromp­ton the big­gest tar­gets.

Ser­vices trav­el­ling on the Air­port and East Dids­bury lines were tar­geted more than 380 times – with 252 in­ci­dents on the stretch be­tween Bar­low Moor Road and Manch­ester Air­port alone.

The Eccles line had the least recorded in­ci­dents at just 26.

And bosses have spent £750,000 on ticket ma­chine re­pairs and boost­ing se­cu­rity af­ter van­dal­ism.

The TfGM data did not give de­tails of any ar­rests or charges in con­nec­tion to the in­ci­dents, as the com­pany does not have that in­for­ma­tion.

It comes af­ter coun­cil­lors called for ‘two guards on ev­ery tram’ in a bid to tackle thugs.

Trans­port for Greater Manch­ester (TfGM) bosses, mean­while, have ar­gued there is not proof that guards would be ef­fec­tive – and say a raft of al­ter­na­tive pro­pos­als will help.

These in­clude a 24-hour con­trol room mon­i­tor­ing the 2,000 CCV cam­eras across the net­work so of­fi­cers can be scram­bled im­me­di­ately to in­ci­dents.

The new mea­sure is among a raft of pro­pos­als to com­bat on­go­ing an­ti­so­cial and vi­o­lent be­hav­iour.

Bev Hughes, deputy mayor for polic­ing and crime, has said the 24-hour con­trol room will send a clear mes­sage to of­fend­ers.

Their strat­egy to com­bat anti-so­cial be­hav­iour also in­cludes: ● Ex­tra pa­trols on the Old­ham and Rochdale line where in­ci­dents have oc­curred, as well as tar­get­ing other hotspots ● More PCSOs, of­fi­cers, in­spec­tors and sergeants on the Trav­elSafe team, which guards the net­work ●● Faster roll-out of body cam­eras on se­cu­rity staff ● Con­tin­u­ing the bid for new pow­ers to ban thugs from sta­tions and stops ● More school vis­its to ed­u­cate on the im­pact of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour

A TfGM spokesman said the fig­ures in­cluded mi­nor in­ci­dents where no dam­age had oc­curred.

All in­ci­dents of van­dal­ism and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour were taken se­ri­ously and Ke­olisAmey Metrolink which runs the ser­vice de­cides when to file po­lice re­ports, he said.

He added: “The actions of those in­di­vid­u­als who be­lieve it is ac­cept­able to steal and cause dam­age to the net­work im­pacts on our cus­tomers and will not be tol­er­ated.

“The fact that there have been a num­ber of ar­rests and con­vic­tions should act as a strong de­ter­rent.

“We’re also work­ing with the Mayor to try and se­cure the nec­es­sary pow­ers to ban per­sis­tent trou­ble mak­ers and are work­ing hard to proac­tively tackle the is­sue and pre­vent and de­ter in­ci­dents of crime.”

●● Two men were at­tacked with a ham­mer in March at Union Street West tram stop

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