All ten Birmingham MPs have come together to throw their weight behind National Express West Midlands’ campaign to get bus vandals the toughest possible sentences. The campaign was launched by National Express West Midlands Managing Director Peter Coates after figures showed that a mindless few vandals were causing over a million pounds of damage to the buses the city’s residents rely on.
The MPs from across the city and the political spectrum have signed a joint letter to Birmingham magistrates calling on them to ensure vandals ‘pay for the damage they have cause’ to the regions buses and for repeat offenders to face the ‘toughest possible sentences’.
The MPs are also calling on bus users across the region to join National Express West Midlands’ campaign by anonymously feeding intelligence into the ‘See Something Say Something’ initiative. All passengers have to do is text the word ‘bus’ their route, time and location as well as what ASB or vandalism they are witnessing. This anonymous data will then be used by police to carry out undercover operations in hotspot areas.
Recent joint operations between National Express West Midlands and West Midlands Police have led to repeat bus vandals being taken to court and facing fines that have not covered the cost of the damage they have caused.
Birmingham’s MPs have today called for vandals to be made to pay for the damage they cause as a stronger deterrent to future acts of vandalism and a clear message to others that the city will not tolerate their actions.
Jack Dromey MP for Birmingham Erdington said: “Our message is simple, vandalising buses and bus stops is wrong and people who carry out this pointless act should face tough consequences. Their actions have a negative impact on Birmingham’s image and the vast majority of people are sick of them.”
Shabana Mahmood MP for Birmingham Ladywood said: “Vandalism is one of the most frustrating crimes, like the vast majority of Birmingham’s residents the MPs have had enough and want those guilty of damaging our city’s buses to pay for the damage they cause.”
Andrew Mitchell MP for Sutton Coldfield said: “These mindless acts of vandalism not only cost over a million pounds a year, they also have a negative affect on our area’s image. The vast majority of people on our city’s buses are law abiding individuals who want to see these vandals made to pay.”
Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands said: “We have worked hard to cut on-board anti social behaviour and crime by 61% over the last five years. However, we know that the appearance of some of our vehicles is being negatively affected by the actions of a handful of mindless vandals.
"We are working closely with the police to tackle this problem and have had great success recently in bringing these vandals to court. We are delighted that local MPs are backing our calls for fines to better represent the cost of the damage caused.”
Published 5th December 2012