Andy Burnham shows support for TravelSafe staff during visit to special operation in Manchester
Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham has visited officers during a special TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) operation to see how they are helping to keep people safe on the network
During an operation at Manchester's Victoria station, the Mayor saw first-hand how specialist resources such as drones and dog units are deployed to crack down on antisocial behaviour and crime.
Metrolink staff and officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and British Transport Police (BTP) were deployed to the station on Friday 17th December to reassure the travelling public and deter antisocial behaviour.
The last Friday before Christmas Eve is known by many as ‘Mad Friday’. It is one of the busiest times of the year for the hospitality sector, but it also puts extra strain on the emergency services as they respond to an increased number of callouts.
Over the course of the operation at Victoria, TSP officers carried out 3,200 ticket checks, issued 190 fines for fare evasion, and handed out 2,400 face coverings and 1,110 bottles of hand sanitisers for passengers.
Police also arrested one person for possession with intent to supply and another person for a breach of court of order. A total of 33 people were stopped by officers, who carried out 11 searches.
Three people were removed from the platform for byelaw offences and two children were removed to a place of safety. A referral was also made for child criminal exploitation.
Speaking after visiting the operation and meeting TSP staff, the Mayor said: “It’s the Friday before Christmas, it’s one of the busiest nights of the year and I wanted to show my support for our TravelSafe team.
“It’s all about keeping people safe on our public transport system, and I’ve heard the Greater Manchester public this year saying very clearly that they want more visible presence on our buses and our trams and I’m here to say that we hear you, but also to thank the team.
“It’s been challenging over the last two years because of the pandemic and maybe people have lost a little bit of confidence about going on public transport, so it’s really important to reassure people.
“The message to the public is that we take your safety very seriously and we’re working with GMP, BTP and our own Metrolink staff to make sure our public transport system is a safe place to be.”
Incidents of youth-related antisocial behaviour have already risen in recent months, paving the way for specialist operations at hot spots across the public transport network.
Since October there have been 20 special operations, with TSP officers speaking to around 17,000 people. A total of 893 fines for fare evasion have been issued, and 15 arrests have been made.
During this time Transport for Greater Manchester has also been running a campaign to raise awareness of the work that the TSP does.
Police officers and transport staff spend around 5,000 hours a week patrolling the network, which is monitored by TfGM and Metrolink 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, using 3,800 CCTV cameras.
Alex Cropper, Head of Operations at TfGM said, said: “Passenger safety is of paramount importance to us, and that is why these TravelSafe Specialist Operations are so vital in inspiring confidence amongst the travelling public and helping to deter antisocial behaviour and crime.
“We want everyone’s journey to be a safe and enjoyable one, and through the TravelSafe Partnership we are taking an enforcement, engagement and education-led approach to make sure that it is.
“I’d like to thank the Mayor for taking the time to visit one of our operations to see just how much work goes into them.”
Transport for Greater Manchester Press Office
0161 244 1055