More than 60 police officers will make up a new and dedicated transport unit to help keep the travelling public safe.
The team will replace 50 PCSOs as part of a new Transport Unit. Expected to launch in the winter, it will replace the current TravelSafe Unit.
The team will provide a proactive policing presence across the region’s transport network and work as part of the broader TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) – which includes Transport for Greater Manchester and operators – to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour (ASB) and improve public confidence and road safety.
For the first time the unit will provide a response function to deal with ongoing crimes and incidents affecting public transport.
The changes are being partly-funded through an increase in local council tax, responding to residents’ calls for tougher policing on the transport network.
Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes, said: “When members of the public use the transport system they have an absolute right to expect that they will be safe. And people will not use public transport unless they feel safe and know they’ll be safe. That’s why we have taken action to strengthen even further the security of the system.
“This investment in the TravelSafe Unit will enable tougher enforcement across the transport network, stopping offenders in their tracks and keeping the public safe.
“Significantly, for the first-time the unit will have the capability to respond to crimes in action and help restore the transport network following disruption.
“I hope this new unit will reassure all those who use our roads and public transport systems that their safety and wellbeing is my absolute priority.
“I also want to thank the PCSOs who have done great work over the last two years. Now they can bring their skills and experience to the wider community, as we bolster neighbourhood policing across Greater Manchester.”
The TSP takes an intelligence-lead, problem-solving approach to tackling crime and ASB, including proactive operations and ‘target hardening’ measures.
The partnership also benefits from TfGM and Metrolink’s control rooms, which have an extensive range of CCTV cameras that are monitored 24/7.
CASE STUDY: Operation Infinity
The TravelSafe-led ‘Operation Infinity’ ran between 13 and 26 August 2018 in response to ongoing complaints of criminal and antisocial behaviour on the Oldham and Rochdale Metrolink line.
Joint intelligence was used to deploy officers and staff across the line at specific times to deter and disrupt criminality. Officers were supported by partner resources, including GMP’s Mounted Unit and Oldham Council’s Youth Engagement Officers. It resulted in 13 arrests, 105 intelligence submissions and 153 young people being spoken to. Metrolink staff also issued over 2,600 revenue enforcement tickets.
The long-term impact of the operation has seen crime and antisocial behaviour on the line fall significantly. The four months prior to the operation (May - August) saw 170 recorded incidents, compared to just 97 incidents during the four months after the operation (September - December). This has continued into 2019, with 136 incidents recorded from January to April compared to 176 in the same period in 2018, a 23% drop.