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Friday, 22 September, 2000, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Mixed results on rail crime
Forth Bridge
Crime has fallen for the last six years
The company which operates Scotland's railway network has welcomed a drop in crime but says vandalism and trespass remain major concerns.

British Transport Police figures published on Friday, show railway crime has fallen by almost 13%.

ScotRail believes that this is good news and largely due to higher profile policing, CCTV and help-points at stations.

The fall continues a six-year downward trend, despite passenger numbers rising by almost a quarter.

Crossing sign
Traffic on the network has increased
However, the figures showed that violent crimes on the network in Scotland actually increased, although not as much as elsewhere in the UK.

Vandalism was also down but still accounted for more than half of all UK railway accidents.

ScotRail managing director, Alastair McPherson, said there had been too many incidents of stone throwing and fire-raising over the summer, which had put the railways under seige.

He welcomed the provision of 40 additional front-line police officers to help stem what he calls the "wretched tide of vandalism".

Assistant Chief Constable Sandy Forrest, Scottish commander of the British Transport Police, said he hoped to continue to make the rail network more secure.

Obstruction increase

He said: "Crime on Scotland's railways has been reduced over the past six years by some 30% to today's level, despite the rise in passenger numbers, up in excess of 24% over the same period.

"Some of these crimes, such as obstructing trains and stonethrowing, have increased and we have seen far too many serious incidents jeopardising the safety of Scotland's railways."

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