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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 03:18 GMT 04:18 UK
Police report fall in rail crime
Rail passengers
Fewer crimes were reported in 2000-01
Crime on Britain's railways fell last year, according to official figures.

In the 12 months to March 2001, 69,980 crimes were reported on main lines across England, Scotland and Wales and on London Underground, 7.5% fewer than in 1999-2000.

But there was an increase in robberies, drugs offences and trespass, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

Welcoming the overall reduction in crime, BTP Chief Constable Ian Johnson said: "This is good news for rail passengers and the railway industry."

Nearly 80% of the fall was due to a big drop in the number of pickpocketing offences, which had soared in the previous year.

But rail passengers in England faced a greater chance of encountering violence on their travels.

Robberies, which rose by 9.9% across the whole of Britain, soared by almost a fifth in England.

Rail crime 2000-01
Drug offences up 5.1%
Trespass up 3%
Crime in England down 2.4%
Wales down 12.7%
Scotland down 11.0%
And while violent crime fell overall, it rose by 2.7% in England and by 8.6% on the London Underground.

The Metropolitan Police area of London was a particular hotspot for robberies, which increased by 16.2%.

However, total numbers of crimes reported on the Underground fell by a fifth, compared with the previous year.

Thefts, which accounted for 55% of all the crimes reported, rose sharply on Scottish routes (up 23.5%), although levels across Britain fell by 9.2%.

There was good news for train safety, however, with a 10% fall in incidents of endangering safety and obstructing trains.

And while rates of crime detection were down slightly, (20.1% from 20.6%) sniffer dogs helped police to catch more drug offenders.

Among these were a man arrested at Glasgow Central station in possession of a kilo of heroin, and another stopped with 2.5 kilos of heroin at Lime Street station, Liverpool.

British Transport Police also had to deal with about 550 bomb threats or suspect packages during the course of the year.

See also:

22 Sep 00 | Scotland
Mixed results on rail crime
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