Tracking down the rail yobs

Vandalism on railway lines
Vandalism on railway lines
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ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour has no place on Wigan’s railways.That was the call from British Transport Police (BTP) officers today who will be running a special operation this week to target problematic behaviour on trains and at stations.

Operation Serenity will see all officers across the region, from Stoke to Carlisle, tackling anti-social behaviour and its effects on rail passengers and staff.

Sgt Andy Tomkins of the BTP in Wigan said: “Anti-social behaviour may not be the most serious offence we investigate, but it certainly has the capacity to impact on a large number of people.

“At best Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) can be an annoyance but, at its worst, can create an intimidating environment and is often the pre-cursor to violence and other crimes. The week of action, utilising the Neighbourhood Policing Team, is designed to tackle ASB at the early stages, before problematic behaviour is able to escalate.”

Officers will be conducting special patrols on trains and at stations across the area throughout the week to deter those who might otherwise cause problems for passengers and staff alike.

Sgt Tomkins added: “We will be paying particular attention to the central Wigan stations as well as late nigh trains between Wigan and Liverpool and Manchester, which have been highlighted to BTP by rail staff and passengers.

“The railway is safer than it has ever been, but we recognise that just one incident of ASB can have a negative impact on a large number of people.

“We want everyone to feel safe on the railway and this week of action is designed to do just that by highlighting the work of BTP and by providing a high profile presence across the area.

“Whilst carrying out these patrols we will also be looking to target other criminal behaviour which has an impact on rail users and the rail network in general.”

British Transport Police are also always on the look-out for trouble-makers who deliberately put obstacles on the lines.

There have been a number of instances in recent years in the borough with rocks, roadsigns and other large pieces of rubbish put across the tracks.

Fortunately no-one has been injured and it may be that those responsible do not appreciate the full seriousness of what they are doing, but officers say it is sometimes down to pure chance that innocent parties don’t come to serious harm.