West Midlands bus network sees drop in crime

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A high-profile police operation named ‘Operation Goliath’ aimed at targeting Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) on the West Midlands bus network has seen a reduction in crime.

The operation saw police officers from the Safer Travel Police Team conduct extra patrols across the region throughout March. The month of March typically sees a rise in ASB due to lighter nights and school holidays.

In comparison to March 2015, figures indicate that the result of the operation was a 12% reduction in ASB-related crimes on buses in the area.

Inspector Lee Gordon of Safer Travel commented: “Operation Goliath targets areas identified as vulnerable to anti-social behaviour, with a mixture of foot and mobile patrols responding quickly to real time issues identified by drivers and passengers.

“Uniformed police from the partnership travelled on all modes of public transport targeting known trouble spots and included plain clothes patrols and revenue operations.”

Fare dodging saw a large clampdown under the operation. On March 9 this year, teams checked a total of 47 buses in Saltley Gate, Birmingham, and St Paul’s in Birmingham city centre – where 93 penalty fare notices worth £3,255 were issued.

The Safer Travel Partnership is comprised of Centro – the delivery arm of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and transport operators – including National Express West Midlands (NXWM).

Cllr Kath Hartley, Chairman of the TDC’s ‘Putting Passengers First’ committee, said: “Using public transport now is safer than it ever has been but there will always be some individuals who want to cause trouble and make a nuisance of themselves on the network and elsewhere.

“This is why we are determined to send out a message through operations like Goliath that such behaviour will not be tolerated.”