Safety and Security

page last updated 10 October 2018

Crime and perception of personal safety is a genuine barrier to the use of public transport in the West Midlands with DfT figures suggesting that 11.5% more journeys would be made, if passengers felt safer.

It is therefore essential that in order to encourage the use of more sustainable modes of transport, passengers must be made to feel safer. Crime on the public transport network has significantly reduced in the last decade since the introduction of the Safer Travel Partnership. The unique Partnership brings together TfWM, West Midlands Police, British Transport Police with transport operators, with the key aims of reducing crime and improving passenger perception.

Delivering the Police and Crime Commissioners Local Transport Policing Plan, the Safer Travel Partnership carries out both highly visible overt patrols and operations as well as covert operations. Supported by a dedicated police analyst, the Partnership deploys their resources based entirely on need, using reports and information from a range of sources to ensure they are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things. This approach directly takes into account information from passengers, through the popular See Something, Say Something text message service.

The Safer Travel Partnership is also supported by a significant number of high definition IP CCTV cameras, which are placed at bus stations, bus shelters, bus routes, rail stations, and Park and Ride sites. The images are then beamed back to a 24/7/365 British Standard control centre and is used proactively support the identification and apprehension of offenders.

Within the Partnership is a dedicated education and communications resource. The Education Officer engages with over 30,000 pupils per year, providing advice on how to travel safely on the public transport network, how to keep their belongings safe and how to behave appropriately. The Communications Officer ensures that not only are the successes celebrated but the work of the Partnership, including advice, is made available.

In many cases, it is low-level nuisance and anti-social behaviour (ASB) that make people feel uncomfortable on public transport. The Partnership has, in recent years, put in place a dedicated ASB team. Since their inception, passenger concern with ASB has almost halved. Interventions include warning letters, school visits, home visits, acceptable behaviour contracts, and injunctions. In addition to this, the ASB team utilise Restorative Justice (RJ) as a tool, bringing together offender and victim, and ensuring that the offender carries out activities as recompense for their poor behaviour. This innovative approach has delivered encouraging results with just 2% of those subject to RJ re-offending compared to the national average of 30%.