Operation Goliath a giant success in targeting bus crime

A high-profile police operation targeting anti-social behaviour on the West Midlands bus network has seen a drop in crime.

Operation Goliath saw officers from the Safer Travel Police Team conduct extra patrols across the region throughout March.

The month of March historically sees a rise in complaints about anti-social behaviour (ASB) due to a combination of lighter nights and school holidays.

Figures now show the result of the operation was a 12% reduction in bus crime compared to March 2015.

Inspector Lee Gordon of Safer Travel said: “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.”

This included a clampdown on fare dodging, which has been shown to be closely linked with ASB.

An operation on March 9 saw teams check a total of 47 buses in Saltley Gate in Birmingham and St Paul’s in Birmingham city centre where 93 penalty fare notices worth a total of £3,255 were issued.

Officers also made arrests and obtained convictions for assaults, drug possession, immigration offences and criminal damage.

A number of incidents resulting in anti-social behaviour warning letters were also sent.

The Safer Travel Partnership consists of Transport For West Midlands (TFWM) – 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.

Cllr Kath Hartley, chair 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."

Travelling on public transport in the West Midlands has seen crime fall by 70% per cent in the last eight years.

The total number of offences recorded on bus and rail services across the region from April 1 last year to March 31 this year fell six per cent to 5,822, down from 6,199 for the same period the previous year.

On the bus network the total number of recorded crimes was 2,755, a six per cent fall from 2,930 the previous year.

However figures show passenger surveys have found things such as playing loud music and smoking are key irritants that can also lead to an unfounded fear of crime.

To address this, officers will speak to passengers advising them about how crime has fallen on the network and how they can use the See Something Say Something scheme to anonymously play their part in tackling nuisance behaviour.

Passengers who see any nuisance behaviour during their journey can say something by texting 'bus', 'metro' or 'rail' followed by a space and then details of the incident including time, date, location and route number to 83010.

This provides information that enables officers from the Safer Travel Partnership to pinpoint crime and anti-social behaviour hot spots and take appropriate action.

Alternatively they can give details by logging on to the www.safertravel.info website or by telephoning police on 101 for bus and 0800 405040 for rail and Metro.

In the case of an urgent crime or an emergency they should dial 999 as usual.

Published 17th June 2016