Big jump in crimes on the railways in the region
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.”