Violence and sexual offences fuel spike in rail crime
Violent crime accounted for a fifth of all cases in 2018/19.
A surge in violent and sexual offences drove a 12% rise in crime recorded on Britain’s railways last year, new figures show.
Some 68,313 crimes were recorded by British Transport Police (BTP) in 2018/19, up from 60,867 during the previous 12 months.
Violent crime accounted for a fifth of all cases after increasing by 16% year-on-year to 13,591.
Sexual offences rose by 8% over the same period to 2,635.
BTP noted that there was fewer than one serious crime per million passenger journeys in 2018/19.
Deputy chief constable Adrian Hanstock said the force anticipated there could be a rise in overall crime as passenger numbers grew.
He went on: “Despite this increase, when put into context it is important to remember that the chance of becoming a victim of crime on the railway is very low.
“We now police more than 3.3 billion journeys each year, the equivalent of a third of the world’s population passing through our jurisdiction.
“Of course, any rise in crime is of concern to us and we are tackling this head on through our problem-solving initiatives at key locations.”
BTP said preventing serious violence and knife crime remains one of its key priorities.
Half of all recorded knife crimes on the railway were a result of proactive action by officers which resulted in weapons and other prohibited items being seized.
Mr Hanstock added: “Nationwide, our patrols and high-profile operations have included a number of overt and covert tactics to tackle knife crime.
“By using knife arches and stop and search powers in a controlled way, we’ve been able to seize weapons before they’re used to potentially take a life.
“Fortunately, assaults involving a weapon on the railway are extremely rare, and these decisive steps are part of our commitment to keeping our railways safe.”
Watch the shocking moment a violent fare dodger pushed over a member of @TfL staff...— British Transport Police (@BTP) July 8, 2019
The victim sustained serious injuries, which still require treatment over a year on.
A man has been sentenced today for this senseless attack. More here 👉https://t.co/6fr1LHypMd pic.twitter.com/KZOYu5Czp2
The crime figures also show year-on-year rises for reports of theft of passenger property (up 21%), public disorder (up 9%) and theft from shops and kiosks (up 10%).
The data relates to Britain’s mainline railway, London Underground, Glasgow Subway and tram systems in the West Midlands, south London and the North East.
Susie Homan, director of planning, engineering and operations at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “With 20 crimes per million passenger journeys recorded in 2018/19, Britain’s railway remains one of the safest in the world.
“As an industry we are working with the BTP to return to a long-term trend of falling crime on the railway, by trialling and investing in new technology like body worn cameras for staff and working with police to increase the reporting of crime.”