Big jump in crimes on the rail­ways in the region

Hinckley Times - - NEWS - CLAIRE MILLER hinck­ley­times@reach­

CRIME on the Mid­land’s rail­ways has jumped by nearly a fifth in a year.

There were 4,901 crimes recorded by Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice in its Mid­land divi­sion in 2017/18. This was a 17% in­crease com­pared to 4,202 crimes recorded in 2016/17.

The area has seen a 27% in­crease in vi­o­lence against the per­son, from 608 crimes in 2016/17 to 773 in 2017/18.

Th­ese crimes in­cluded a mur­der and 143 se­ri­ous as­saults, al­though that was down from 146 a year be­fore.

BTP also recorded a 15% in­crease in sex­ual of­fences, up from 106 to 122, in­clud­ing 64 of­fences against women and eight against men. The other 50 cases in­clude ex­po­sure and other sex­ual crimes.

There were 166 in­ci­dents of racially or re­li­giously ag­gra­vated pub­lic fear, alarm or dis­tress, up by a third from the year be­fore.

Per­sonal items were stolen from peo­ple on trains and in sta­tions in the region on 535 oc­ca­sions, a 10% in­crease, while lug­gage was taken 158 times, up 1%.

BTP also dealt with 15 bomb hoaxes, 102 cable thefts, nine book­ing of­fice break-ins and 214 thefts from sta­tion shops and kiosks in the region.

Over­all, BTP recorded 61,159 crimes in Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales, com­pared with 52,235 in 2016/17 - an in­crease of 17%, ac­cord­ing to its an­nual re­port pub­lished to­day.

DCC Adrian Han­stock, said: “The last year has been a very chal­leng­ing one for our of­fi­cers, who re­sponded to mul­ti­ple ter- ror­ist at­tacks as well as in­ter­ven­ing al­most 2,000 times with vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple on the net­work.

“De­spite th­ese chal­lenges, it is re­as­sur­ing to see that the chance of be­com­ing a vic­tim of crime on the railway net­work re­mains in­cred­i­bly low.

“In the past ten years, we have seen a sig­nif­i­cant rise in the num­ber of pas­sen­ger jour­neys on the English, Scot­tish and Welsh rail­ways.

“With more peo­ple than ever trav­el­ling on the net­work, we fully ex­pected to see a sub­se­quent rise in crime in some areas.

“In the last ten years, pas­sen­ger jour­neys have in­creased by 828 mil­lion (35%), which means that BTP po­liced more than 3.2 bil­lion in­di­vid­ual jour­neys dur­ing 2017/18.

“Like­wise, railway sta­tions are chang­ing, be­com­ing en­ter­tain­ment and shop­ping venues in their own right, and as a con­se­quence the en­vi­ron­ment we po­lice is be­com­ing more var­ied and vi­brant.”

The chance of a pas­sen­ger be­com­ing a vic­tim of crime on the railway re­mains ex­tremely low, with only 19 crimes recorded for ev­ery mil­lion jour­neys in 2017/18.

How­ever, ten years ago, there was around 30 crimes per mil­lion pas­sen­ger jour­neys recorded on the rail net­work.

BTP said an­other fac­tor in the in­creas­ing num­ber of re­ports was its con­fi­den­tial text ser­vice, 61016, to re­port crime.

In 2017/18 BTP re­ceived more than 57,000 mes­sages via text, and 3,304 crimes were recorded via the text ser­vice last year.

DCC Han­stock, said: “We have also run a num­ber of high pro­file cam­paigns through­out the year en­cour­ag­ing vic­tims of crime to re­port in­ci­dents to us.

“Our Re­port It To Stop It cam­paign is tar­geted at in­creas­ing pas­sen­ger con­fi­dence in re­port­ing sex­ual of­fences, and We Stand To­gether is aimed at en­cour­ag­ing re­ports of hate crime.

“Both of th­ese cam­paigns have led to an in­crease in re­ports, each of which we take ex­tremely se­ri­ously and in­ves­ti­gate thor­oughly.

“In the past year, we have seen an in­crease in the num­ber of vi­o­lence of­fences on the rail net­work. Any in­crease in this area is con­cern­ing and we have al­ready put in mea­sures to tackle vi­o­lence head on.

“It is worth bear­ing in mind that less than one jour­ney in a mil­lion in­volves an in­ci­dent of any kind of vi­o­lence.

“We know the im­pact vi­o­lence has on vic­tims and that is why we are com­mit­ted to clamp­ing down on th­ese of­fences.”

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