Page last updated at 23:52 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 00:52 UK

Police to target anti-social behaviour on trains

British Transport Police officer
The British Transport Police safeguard journeys by 6m rail passengers a year

Protecting train passengers from anti-social behaviour will be the top priority for officers, the head of British Transport Police has said.

Chief Constable Andy Trotter said more officers would be on duty during the worst hours for trouble - 2000 to 0200.

And he also said that talks were under way with rail firms to improve lighting and make car parks safer.

Launching the force's policing plan, Mr Trotter said he wanted travellers to feel safe at all times on the network.

Night travel

"It's important for us to listen to people's concerns and be responsive to them, and we know that people are more concerned about travelling at night," he said.

Chief Constable Trotter said research showed men aged under 26 were most concerned, adding that this was understandable as they were the most likely to be the victims of assault.

He said: "We need to be out there protecting them and reassuring all passengers that the railways really are a very safe environment.

"By putting more police on patrol in the evenings, we are aiming to address some of those anxieties and boost passenger confidence."

Police figures show that between the hours of 2000 and 0200, a total of 4,270 people were caught behaving anti-socially on the railways last year.

'Good news'

Transport police caught a further 754 people linked to football trouble - an increase of almost 50% on the previous year.

Recorded crime on the rail network was down 7.3%, with decreases of 7% for violent crime and 22% for robbery.

Sexual offences were up slightly by 0.7% - an increase accounted for by seven crimes.

Michael Roberts, of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said it was "good news for passengers" that the overall crime rate was falling.

He said: "Train companies invest significant amounts of money, time and effort into ensuring that passengers are safe on trains and at stations, and these results show that this hard work is clearly paying off."

Transport minister Theresa Villiers said: "Rail passengers and those working on stations and trains rightly expect to be able to travel safely and securely."

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