Snow patrols cut Christmas crime on buses

The results are in - the Safer Travel Partnership’s Christmas crackdown has cut crime on the buses. Offences on the bus network in Birmingham city centre during Operation Snow - while the city’s famous Christmas market was in town - were down 57% compared with 2015. 

Inspector Rachel Crump of West Midlands Police’s Safer Travel team said:

“In the 43 days between 17 November and 29 December 2016, there were only 10 bus offences in the city centre. Theft and robbery were down, and we saw a big fall in violent offences.

“Operation Snow aims to prevent crime and reassure shoppers by providing a high-profile presence at key public transport interchanges and dealing with incidents in a robust and timely manner - nipping trouble in the bud.

“We always want people to enjoy Birmingham at Christmas safely and peacefully, and these great results show our approach to protecting passengers is working.”

Birmingham’s Christmas market is incredibly popular. It coincides with the start of Christmas shopping and increases the footfall in the city centre, with many visitors using public transport. 

As an indication of the size of the crowds, December 2016 saw an unprecedented increase in passenger footfall at New Street, with 5.9m passengers using the station, compared with 2.5m in December the previous year.

Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, which operates the tram and most of the buses in the region, said:

"We are very pleased with the results from this year’s Safer Travel Partnership's Operation Snow.

“Thousands more people caught the bus into Birmingham city centre while the Christmas market was open. It’s great to know that the Safer Travel teams were out there patrolling and keeping our passengers safe.”

Transport for West Midlands, West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and transport operators make up the Safer Travel Partnership, which exists to make public transport in the West Midlands even safer.

The partnership, the first of its type in the country, has access to more than 1,000 CCTV cameras located at bus, rail and Metro stations, park and ride sites, bus routes and in bus shelters, as well as a 24-hour dedicated control centre to spot and respond to incidents on the public transport network.

The Safer Travel Partnership runs the See Something Say Something service, which allows people to pass on details of nuisance behaviour. All passengers need to do is text “Bus” followed by a space to 83010, with a message giving as much information as possible about the nature of the incident. A dedicated Safer Travel Anti-Social Behaviour Team investigates each report it receives.

Anyone witnessing criminal behaviour should ring 999 as they would do normally.

Published 13th April 2017