Page last updated at 06:52 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 07:52 UK

Robberies on railways down by 53%

BTP officers conduct a search at Elephant and Castle station
BTP officers conduct a search at Elephant and Castle station

Robberies on the railways in south London and the southern home counties have fallen for the fourth year running, according to new figures.

British Transport Police (BTP) said the number of robberies on stations and trains fell by 53% in the past year, with an 80% reduction since 2004-05.

The overall number of crimes fell by 15% in the past year, it said, but drug and public order offences were up.

Ch Supt Steve Morgan said this was because more crime was being detected.

The figures for the BTP London South area cover railways in south London, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Dorset and Croydon Tramlink.

Ch Supt Morgan said the reductions in crime came at a time when increasing numbers of people were using the railways.

In recent years our railways have never been safer but we realise that passenger perceptions often contradict that reality
Ch Supt Steve Morgan

"These figures are extremely pleasing," he said.

"Crime continues to decrease across the board, while we continue to solve a larger percentage of those crimes that do occur."

The figures for the past year show violent crime has fallen by 14%, criminal damage by 29%, sexual offences by 17% and theft of passengers' property by 22%.

Motor vehicle crime, a particular problem at suburban and rural stations, was down 13%.

But figures for drugs and public order offences were up, which police said was because of their own increased activity.

"Increased recording of drugs, public order and weapons offences are a result of our determination to confront anti-social behaviour head-on," said Ch Supt Morgan.

"We will maximise the use of our stop and search powers to target those carrying knives and drugs on the rail network.

"By using technology such as mobile metal detecting arches and scanners along with CCTV, drugs dogs, covert policing and traditional high-profile policing operations, passengers should be assured that we are doing everything in our power."

Neighbourhood policing teams were now operating at all the mainline termini and across south London from bases at Victoria, Lewisham and Clapham Junction stations, he said.

"In recent years our railways have never been safer but we realise that passenger perceptions often contradict that reality," said Ch Supt Morgan.

"We will therefore continue to focus on those crimes that matter most to passengers and to rail staff - anti-social behaviour, robbery and other violent crime and will use every method at our disposal to target those offences."


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