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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 01:32 GMT 02:32 UK
Violent attacks on Tube increase
Tube sign
TfL says it is working with BTP to cut crime on the Tube
Growing attacks on Tube staff have seen violent crimes on London Underground rise by almost a quarter, figures from British Transport Police (BTP) show.

The statistics show attacks on workers accounted for almost one third of all assaults in the 12 months leading to the end of March 2004.

Transport for London (TfL) said overall crime was "stable" as the total number was up 1% compared to 2002/03.

The Rail Maritime and Transport Union called for more staff on every train.

The figures also showed that pick-pocketing was down on the Underground by 17% but graffiti offences had almost doubled.

RMT general secretary Bob Crowe said: "Our members all too often bear the brunt of aggressive, drunken behaviour, particularly at night and when working alone or receive unacceptable abuse and threats from commuters frustrated by late-running trains.

Difference in crime figures compared to 2002/03
All crime +1%
Violent crime +22.1%
Sexual offences +5%
Robbery -6.2%
Theft of railway property +62.9%
Criminal damage +63.1%
Line of route offences +58.5%
Passenger property theft -13.1%
Motor vehicle offences -17.9%
Fraud offences -9.6%
Drugs +5.1%
Other crimes +12.6%
"For too long rail employers have cut staff simply to save money, and the price has been an increase in assaults and abuse against our members.

"Our members want to be able to work in safety, and members of the public do not want to have to run the gauntlet on deserted, desolate stations late at night or worry about being attacked in a train carriage."

London Underground managing director Tim O'Toole said TfL and BTP were working together to cut crime, while funding for an additional 200 officers to patrol the Tube had been provided over the past two years.

He said: "Statistically, London Underground is still a safe environment, particularly when you realise that over 3 million passengers use the Tube every day, more than use all the railways in the rest of Britain."

BTP said it was introducing Reassurance Policing across the Tube network, where teams of up to six officers were attached to a group of stations.

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