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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Public disorder on trains rises
Transport police in Cardiff
Wales's railways saw a rise in disorder and damage offences
The number of public disorder offences and criminal damage on railways in Wales have increased in the last year, new figures have revealed.

British Transport Police's annual statistics show instances of public disorder and criminal damage have risen by around a quarter.

Robberies, fraud offences and violent attacks were down on the previous year.

And the number of violent crimes have dropped by almost 10% in contrast to an increase in England.

British Transport Police concluded that the railways were safer in Wales and the west of England in 2006-2007 than ever before, with fewer offences and more convictions.

It makes me feel very scared, vulnerable and intimidated
Francis Norman, conductor

The number of violent attacks dropped from 538 to 514. Sexual offences were also down from 39 to 33.

However, there were 315 assaults on members of staff this year - 40 more than the previous 12 months

But conductor Francis Norman from Cardiff Central Station said staff face abuse on an almost daily basis.

Ms Norman said: "Not a day goes past really without some sort of incident.

"It makes me feel very scared, vulnerable and intimidated.

"Its not very nice and it can take a long time to get over such an incident... it can be very upsetting.

Vandals on railway
British Transport Police want people to report offences on the railways

"I wish something more could be done about it to make our lives a lot better, makes our jobs a bit easier."

Superintendent Paul Richards, of British Transport Police's operations unit for Wales and the Western area, said the "relatively low" figures also needed to be seen in the perspective of improved reporting procedures.

"Violent crime in Wales has dropped by 9.5 %, sexual offences 16.5%, so there's some really good news and really positive work going on," he added.

"And again, we're doing a lot of pro-active work around hotspot areas where we're getting particular problems.

"We stop it by getting the community involved. They need to identify who these people are - we have a tremendous success as far as detections are concerned- and its sending out the right message."

He said he did not want the public to be "getting directly involved" but to report offenders.

Train disabled

The problem of crime on Welsh railways was highlighted in May this year when one train company threatened to withdraw some of its services.

Arriva Trains Wales said that instances of crime and disorder had nearly doubled so far that year.

In March, passengers were left stranded after a train was disabled by a gang of youths at Ystrad Rhondda.

The guard - who had a fire extinguisher let off in his face and a bottle thrown at him - driver and three security guards were left terrified.

Arriva Trains Wales warned that if unless things improved it would have to cancel some services on the stretch of track between Pontypridd and Treherbert.


SEE ALSO
'Steep rise' in crime on railway
14 May 07 |  South East Wales
Police to target transport hubs
03 Oct 06 |  London

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