Forty attacks on rail passengers and staff

Crime story
Crime story
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THERE have been almost 40 violent attacks on Wigan rail passengers and staff over the last four years.

The majority of these - 22 - were reported at Wigan Wallgate, with the remaining 16 at neighbouring Wigan North West station.

The most recent figures - for the year 2013-14 - show a total of seven victims subjected to assaults at the stations themselves and a further three being attacked on trains travelling through the borough.

Five of the victims that year were members of staff.

Most victims did not sustain an injury, but there was one common assault against a passenger on Wigan North West station and one service user was wounded on the train.

In the period of 2010 to 2012/13, there were 28 violent crimes recorded by British Transport Police.

These included three reports of sexual assault on a female passenger aged 13 or under - all of which occurred on a train.

There were also four complaints of racially-aggravated harassment - two towards members of staff - at both stations and two against service users on a train.

Two offenders were arrested for exposure on a train - one was in front of a passenger and another was in the presence of an employee.

One person was caught with a bladed weapon at Wallgate station in 2010/11.

There have also been a shocking number of complaints about non-criminal behaviour - such as noise and disruptive behaviour - on trains and at stations.

There were 108 incidents at Wallgate and 268 at North Western in 2013/14, which was a slight fall from the previous 12-month period, of 104 and 278 respectively.

Chief Insp Malcolm McKinnon, of British Transport Police, said: “Over a four-year period there have been just 16 violent and sexual offences at Wigan North Western which equates to only four offences each year.

“Given the footfall at the station, passengers should be reassured that they are unlikely to become a victim of serious crime.

“While statistics show a general rise in overall crime at the station, in the past year crime has fallen and my officers continue to work in partnership with train staff to increase passenger safety and reassurance.

“Violent and sexual offences at Wigan Wallgate equate to just five incidents a year, while figures show that overall crime, which is already extremely low, is steadily falling at the station.”