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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 09:39 GMT
Police to go 'on the buses'
London bus
Police patrols could be seen on London buses
A 25 million pound plan to cut down on illegal parking in bus lanes has been announced by London mayor Ken Livingstone.

The proposal, which is based on a similar scheme in New York, would see a dedicated team of police officers deployed on buses covering 26 key routes across the capital.

The team would be made up of 233 police officers, 281 traffic wardens and 88 civilian staff working under a central Metropolitan Police control.

It would be headed by Superintendent Paul Dowell with links to Transport for London, the city's transport authority.

'Deter criminals'

Mr Livingstone believes the team, who would also operate on night buses, would also tackle the problem of assaults on staff and passengers, in addition to vandalism.

A pilot project is currently running on two south London routes. Once financial backing is confirmed it is expected that the scheme will begin in June.

Mr Livingstone said: "The visible presence of police officers will ensure that bus lanes are enforced, deter criminals and reassure passengers.

"The unit will also play a key role in tackling illegal taxi touts responsible for attacks on passengers at night."

London Transport Commissioner Bob Kiley has praised the scheme, which is being tested on the 159 bus route from Brixton to Westminster and on the 109 route from Croydon to Brixton.

Mr Livingstone, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Todd and Metropolitan Police Authority Chair Lord Harris are due to see the scheme in action on Monday.

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See also:

10 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Drivers face 5 London toll
08 Oct 01 | England
'Innovative' bendy buses
18 Sep 01 | UK
Buses to 'screen' crime
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