Bus thugs will face holiday crackdown

Stephen Rhodes, Transport for Greater Manchester Customer Operations Director
Stephen Rhodes, Transport for Greater Manchester Customer Operations Director

A major clampdown has been launched against anti-social behaviour on Wigan’s buses amid predictions that it is set to rise during the school holidays.

Over the next two months, Transport for Greater Manchester’s Travelsafe Unit (TSU) staff will be running a focused campaign and stepping up patrols across the county’s network of both bus and tram troutes.

The clampdown has been deliberately planned to coincide with the schools’ summer break: a time when youth-related anti-social behaviour, in particular, has a tendency to increase.

The unit is also focusing on preventative measures and youth education.

Before the end of term, uniformed officers were visiting schools in the borough to educate youngsters on the dangers, impacts and consequences of crime, anti-social behaviour and fare evasion on public transport.

In addition, the unit has taken part in recent Crucial Crew events in various parts of Greater Manchester, which had a combined audience of over 3,000 children. Crucial Crew events focus on delivering vital safety and security information to children aged between eight and 11.

TfGM customer operations director Stephen Rhodes said: “It is really important to carry out work like this to enable us to ensure that every member of our community feels safe to travel via our public transport network without feeling intimidated or unduly concerned by the behaviour of others.

“The ability to share intelligence and use it to plan targeted strategies is one of the major advantages of having such a cohesive and dedicated unit, and this is especially beneficial during periods such as the school summer holidays, when we tend to see more incidents.

“Public transport is a safe way to travel and the purpose of the unit is to help reinforce and maintain that through targeted operations such as this.”

Sgt Cecelia Oakley, from the TSU, said: “Everybody has the right to travel from A to B without fear or intimidation and we will be working throughout the summer holidays to keep people safe and deter offences.

“Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable in any form, and we ask people to think about the consequences of their actions and the effect it could have on others.

“If you witness anti-social behaviour please alert a member of staff or call 101 to report it. In an emergency, dial 999.”

Launched on April 1 2015, the TSU comprises a team of police constables, police community support officers, special constables and security personnel.

Led by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the scheme allows partners – including Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd (MRDL), First Bus and Stagecoach – to share intelligence as well as crime and anti-social behaviour data.

For more information on Metrolink services visit www.metrolink.co.uk, call Metrolink Customer Services on 0161 205 2000 or follow @MCRMetrolink for live travel updates.