TfGM could gain powers to ban anti-social passengers from network

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A request to give Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) greater powers to prevent anti-social behaviour on the region’s transport network through civil injunctions has been made.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, submitted a request to the Home Secretary in November. In response, the Home Secretary has now agreed, subject to parliamentary approval, to extend powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 that would allow TfGM to apply to the courts for civil injunctions against those involved in nuisance and anti-social behaviour on the transport network.

Year-on-year increases have been reported by Metrolink, bus stations and bus services, with 2,334 incidents reported in 2013/14; 2,862 in 14/15; 3,730 in 15/16 and 3,984 in 16/17. Note that these figures were provided by two major bus operators in the region, and with more than 40 operators in total, the real figures are likely to be considerably higher.

Between April 2016 and July 2017, 86 assaults were recorded on Metrolink, 46 of which were upon staff, while 165 reports of threatening or abusive behaviour were also recorded.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a blight on our communities and the transport networks that serve them.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in the numbers of incidents reported in recent years and I am not prepared to sit back and allow free rein to the small minority of people who think it acceptable to intimidate, threaten or abuse transport workers and commuters.

“That is why I asked the Home Secretary to grant TfGM the power to issue civil injunctions and help them battle the eroding effect that ASB can have on a person’s decision whether or not to use public transport.

“Our common goal is to ensure people are and feel safe when they use our trams and buses and I’d like to thank the Home Secretary for her swift and positive response.

“The TravelSafe Partnership is already doing some fantastic work and the addition of these powers, if granted, will be a welcome addition to their armoury.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “It is unacceptable that people should feel intimidated in public places or whilst commuting.

“It is important that TfGM has the right tools it needs to tackle this crime on their public transport networks and I am pleased to extend the use of Civil Injunctions to this area subject to Parliamentary agreement.

“The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides the police, local authorities and agencies with a range of powers which they can use quickly and effectively to tackle anti-social behaviour and reduce the impact on communities.”

Should the request be accepted, TfGM would join a list of other public bodies eligible to apply for the injunctions.