Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 15:48 UK

Union hits out at Tube booze ban


The ban is a condition of carriage, not a crime

A transport union has criticised the Tube alcohol ban a year after it came into force, saying its members have been abused trying to enforce it.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union says the ban is unenforceable.

London Mayor Boris Johnson banned the consumption of alcohol on Tubes, buses and the DLR to make the network safer at night.

The ban is not an arrestable offence because it is a condition of carriage on services and not a crime.

Hundreds of people partied on Tube trains last year on the eve of the ban.

'Verbal abuse'

Staff have the power to tell those caught drinking to leave the Tube.

British Transport Police (BTP) figures show public disorder cases have dropped 4.5% in the last year, with crime falling by 8.1%.

The RMT's Steve Hadley said: "They've brought it in without financing it properly, and brought it in without adequate staff, and to be quite honest it hasn't really worked.

Party preceding alcohol ban
Hundreds of people partied on Tube trains before the ban

"There's a lot of our members who have tried to enforce the booze ban, and they've been verbally abused by members of the public, and some of them have even been physically abused by members of the public."

The Mayor's transport adviser, Kulveer Ranger, said: "We feel it's been a good thing for Londoners, it has improved the environment on the Tube, there's aren't those empty cans and bottles of beer rolling around.

"It's really about having a cleaner, safer environment for people to travel in," he said.

Labour's transport lead on the London Assembly, Val Shawcross, said: "Boris says that the ban is his proudest achievement, but he has done nothing to make it work.

"There have been no arrests, no cautions, no alcohol confiscated and no records kept of how many people have refused to observe the ban."

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